THEIR eyes met across a crowded bookshelf, and it was love at first sight for Newport couple librarian Alex Jarvis and avid reader Phil Harries.

Now 27 years later, they are finally about to tie the knot - and their love story has won them the title of Wales’ most romantic readers.

In December 1984, during her first week as a librarian at Rogerstone Library, Ms Jarvis, 51, set eyes on regular visitor Phil Harries, 63.

Ms Jarvis, who now works at Newport Reference Library, said: “He would give me obscure railway book requests with half titles or without authors and I would have to dig deep to try and find what he was looking for.”

But the helpfulness paid off and six months later Mr Harries took her on their first date to Didcot Railway Centre.

Over the past 27 years the couple have enjoyed visiting any bookshop or library they can, either at home or when they are abroad enjoying regular cruises.

This includes libraries in Alaska and Hawaii and mobile libraries in St Lucia and Jamaica.

The couple even saved the clothes they wore from when they first met.

The couple now own more than 600 books which are split into categories at their home, including Ms Jarvis’ favourite categories of cinema and craft and Mr Harries’ favourites of war and, of course, railways.

The couple’s romantic tale inspired judges to name them the winners of the Welsh Books Council’s Quick Reads St Dwynwen’s Day competition which wanted to find couples who had been brought together through their love of books.

And the Rogerstone couple are looking forward to the next chapter in their love story in February when they will marry at The Mansion House, Newport, on February 17.

Ms Jarvis said: “He did ask me way back, but we finally got organised.”

The couple win a bundle of books as well as a romantic break at Portmeirion, North Wales.