THEY say you never forget your first love and, despite a bout of amnesia, one Westcliff couple have proved the truth of the old adage.

Jane and Kevin Whitehead first met when they were 13 and briefly went out before going their separate ways. Fate brought them back together, though, after Kevin was knocked off his motorbike, aged 22, leaving him with large gaps in his memory.

After spending six weeks in hospital, Kevin was discharged to continue his recovery at home and his psychologist advised him to contact people from his past to help him stimulate his memory.

Scrolling through his old schoolmates on online reunion site Friends Reunited, Kevin spotted the name of a nearby girls’ school which rang a bell, a hunch which was confirmed when Jane’s name leapt out at him, leading him to give her a call.

Kevin, 30, said: “I remembered us being friends more than boyfriend and girlfriend, and I wasn’t sure she’d help, but I explained what had happened and she said she’d meet up with me and it went from there.”

Jane, 31, said: “When Kevin rang me it was a real shock. I thought it must be a joke.

“He was telling me about the accident and I just couldn’t imagine what he had gone through until we met up. After that, I began to realise how traumatic it had been for him.

“It was really hard at first, because I had my memories of the old Kevin who was very outgoing and confident, full of life. When I met him again, he was just a shy guy who didn’t seem to have much confidence.”

Despite Kevin not realising that he had dumped Jane back when they were teens, the meetings started bringing back memories and Kevin realised he was falling for his childhood sweetheart all over again.

Kevin, who works for London Underground, said: “It was only after we met up a couple of times that I even remembered we used to go out.

“But from that first meeting I knew I had feelings for her, but I didn’t know how to express them.”

As Jane prepared to go on a holiday, Kevin knew the time had come to share his feelings and called Jane to ask if she would be his girlfriend.

Jane, who is on maternity leave from her job with a company which runs leisure centres, after giving birth to twins Louie and Olivia in March, said: “When he asked me out it was a surprise because it was quite an old-fashioned way of doing it, but he was very sweet and I knew straight away I would say yes.”

The couple never looked back, marrying in 2007.

Now their amazing love story has seen them nominated by a friend for the Ultimate Love Story award in Cosmopolitan magazine’s annual Ultimate Woman of the Year Awards.

Kevin said: “If I hadn’t met Jane I wouldn’t be where I am now. Everything I have I owe to Jane, because if it wasn’t for her I would probably have just stayed at home and given up. Jane gave me my life back.”