Valentine's Day: Fabienne and Derek Bonin-Bree
2021-02-11

In 1993, Fabienne and Derek Bonin-Bree embarked on their first year of teacher training at the University of Aberdeen, but little did they know that a chance meeting in their halls of residence would lead to love and 25 years of marriage.

Now living in Paris, Derek teaches history, humanities, languages, and literature at an international secondary school whilst Fabienne is Managing Director of a certification body.

Looking back to when they first met, Fabienne said: “We first met in our halls of residence at the Northern College of Education, as it was known at the time. Derek had recently graduated with an Economic History and Politics degree from the University and we had both arrived to study for the PGCE Secondary course. When I went to collect the keys to my room, I was told there had been a mix up and this was a male only flat and so I was assigned another. As it turned out, Derek was given that room instead!”

Fabienne and Derek graduated the following year and were married in France in August 1995.

Reflecting on their time at the University, Derek said: “We very much enjoyed the classes and the work placements and, of course, the social side of university life too. We look back fondly on our time in Aberdeen, especially as we had each other for companionship and met a lot of great people from all walks of life. Some of the friends we made at the University even attended our wedding and we still stay in touch with many of them, even though we all live in different parts of the world. It’s lovely that we truly met friends for life.

Last year, Fabienne and Derek celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and are looking forward to returning to Aberdeen when travel restrictions allow.

Fabienne added: “Over the years we haven’t been able to visit Aberdeen as often as we would like, but we plan to return soon to celebrate our many years together in the place that we first met. I would love to see the places that I used to work, like the Music Hall and the Wild Boar, and we’re looking forward to visiting the beautiful campus and taking a trip down memory lane together.”

Published by Alumni Relations, University of Aberdeen

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