LINDA Gornall proved that romance can still thrive after 28 years of marriage as her Valentine’s message won the hearts of competition judges.

Mrs Gornall entered a contest run by Darlington's Cornmill Shopping Centre, which asked visitors to post a romantic message on the ‘Love Wall’ in the lead up to Valentine’s Day.

Her note, which read "there are seven wonders of the world, but you my darling make it eight", earned Mrs Gornall an overnight stay for two at Rockliffe Hall, Hurworth, including dinner, use of the spa facilities and breakfast.

She was also presented with a floral bouquet courtesy of Flowers by Nattrass.

Mrs Gornall, of Haughton, wrote the love note in honour of her husband of 28 years, John, and came up with the message after discussing the wonder of China with her colleagues at Thompson travel agents.

She said: “Throughout the years, my husband and I have sent nearly 70 Valentine’s Day cards to each other, so I guess you could say we’re romantics at heart!

“I wanted to write something a little different as I was determined to win.

“We’ve visited Rockliffe Hall before and it was amazing – I can’t wait to go back and celebrate with my husband.”

Susan Young, centre manager at the Cornmill, said: “Linda’s romantic message caught the eye of the judging panel for its different approach to the traditional love poem and I’m delighted to present her with this fantastic prize.

“The age of romance is certainly not dead.”