SWINDON is getting into the romantic spirit today as scores of romantics across the town mark Valentine's Day.

A number of the town's independent traders have reported a surge in business as the big day got closer.

Chris Bryant, joint owner of Expressions card and gift shop on Victoria Road, said: “We’ve been very busy, but a lot of people tend to come in at the last minute, so later this afternoon and tomorrow will probably be the busiest.

“Generally speaking, the women are far more organised than the men. Women tend to buy cards and gifts well in advance, but men usually leave it to the last minute.”

Speaking about the types of cards and gifts that always prove popular, Chris said that humour was quite a popular choice at Valentine’s Day. Astonishingly, Chris and his team will be starting on preparation for next Valentine’s Day as soon as this April.

He said: “The whole industry tends to work a full year in advance, simply because of the preparation needed in getting all the stock to the shops.”

Heather Groves, owner of George Lesley Flowers on the Cricklade Road, will be working late after the shop shuts to make up romantic bouquets.

She said: “Demand has been nice and steady this year. We do a lovely mixed bunch including a single rose but red roses by themselves are also popular.

“We also have felicity roses, anthuriums, bird of paradise flowers and many different coloured flowers.

“Tastes haven’t really changed over the years with the traditional rose remaining popular and it comes down to personal choice as to whether customers choose what they see in the shop or ask us to make them a bouquet. How busy we get on Valentine’s Day depends on what day of the week it falls on, in mid-week it is usually a bit busier. We will be working late after the shop shuts to make up the orders.”

Elsewhere, the town's Asda stores have been on the hunt for the longest married couples in town, and couples who found love in one of their supermarkets.