NEWPORT'S mayor and mayoress married on Saturday, on what was also St Dwynwen's Day, a celebration of the Welsh saint of love.

Cllr William Routley married his wife Alison in a ceremony at the Church of St John the Baptist, in Penhow, followed by a reception at The Pod restaurant in Newport city centre.

Ahead of their special day, the happy couple sat down with the South Wales Argus to talk about their life together, their year as mayor and mayoress, and their love for the city they call home.

The story of their marriage has been intertwined with Cllr Routley's year as city mayor. He proposed to the mayoress on his first day in office, shortly after receiving the mayoral robe and chains.

"We've been together for eight years, and we've talked about getting married, but I didn't expect it at that point in time," Mrs Routley said. "Then we went to the church for one of our first mayoral events, and we decided [at that moment] that we'd get married there."

Cllr Routley said the surprise proposal was in keeping with a life lesson to which he always abided – that "nothing should stop you from achieving what you want today".

"The first act I did as mayor was to propose to Alison, and I'm so happy she agreed," he said. "Alison has been a great friend of mine – we've laughed, lived, and loved together; and now we move forward together."

Together, the couple spoke warmly of the "great journey" they had embarked on as mayor and mayoress – a journey which began amid tragic circumstances, following the death of Cllr Routley's 21-year-old grandson, Jordan, last April.

What followed, Cllr Routley said, was "a tsunami of love, affection, and kind words" from the people of Newport.

"It gave me the drive to march on," he said. "I wasn't going to do it, but I've done it in memory of my grandson".

He added: "We've been overwhelmed by love."

Those warm wishes have continued throughout Cllr Routley's year as mayor, the couple said, during their hundreds of visits and engagements with the community.

"Everywhere we've gone, we've been welcomed so wonderfully," Cllr Routley said. "There's a genuine interest in the mayor, and I have a genuine interest in everyone else's wellbeing and always try to help."

Mrs Routley said: "[I've really enjoyed [being mayoress], and it's opened my eyes to so many positive things in Newport that, in your normal day-to-day life, you don't necessarily experience."

Reverend Martin Reynolds, who co-officiated Saturday's ceremony, said the couple had been "swept away by the wonders of Newport".

"I've seen children bring [the mayor] to tears with their gifts of art, music, and poetry," he added. "In so many different ways, he has been humbled by the people of Newport."

A proud and passionate supporter of his hometown, Cllr Routley said he supported the Argus' We're Backing Newport campaign and he wanted more people to champion the city.

"People say to me quite often: 'how do we get Newport back again?'" he said. "I say we've got the right foundations – the people. They want to care, to look after each other, and to have aspirations. All these are immeasurable things.

"I always ask people to raise their voices in positivity. You will drown out the negativity – you are the majority."