IT was a fleeting meeting of eyes and moment of yearning romance on a Hampshire bus which lasted just seconds.

Vernon Burton first caught a glimpse of a mystery woman on a double decker in a New Forest Waterside town in the 1980s and never saw her again.

But the hidden romantic in him has resurfaced three decades later causing his heart to stir and bringing the emotions flooding back.

Now he is urging people to help him make his dream come true and track down the lady who he feels he must make contact with after all these years.

It comes as thousands of couples across the county celebrated Valentines' Day today.

Vernon, now 62, was born and bred in Hythe but moved to Canada in 1977 when he was around 23 to work as a mechanic.

But on returning to Britain for a short holiday in 1986 aged around 32 that the former Royal Hampshire Regiment drummer took the bus journey he will never forget.

While on the top deck of a Solent Blue Line bus in Mousehole Lane travelling towards Southampton he made eye contact with a woman on a bus travelling the opposite way on a late summer morning.

The retired mechanic and grandfather said: "For some reason I looked back at that other bus and saw a woman looking back at me.

"I came over all light-headed, my stomach felt like it had butterflies and my legs started to shake.

"The buses started to pull away and I just had to reach my hand out to try not to let her go.

"To my surprise, she did the same. You hear about these things happening in romantic movies - but it really did happen to me."

Vernon said he was in a relationship at the time and had returned to Canada to continue with his life without a thought.

Now single again he began thinking of her within the last year and recently contacted the bus company - now called Blue Star - to see if he could track her down again.

He even sent them pictures of himself at that time - including one in full military regalia - and hopes the company can put up posters around the area.

He said: "It's a long shot but I want to do all I can. I am not normally a romantic person but I've never felt this way since and I am sure she got the same feeling too."

Bluestar assistant marketing manager StaceyTucker said: "We received this incredibly romantic request and couldn't think of a better time of year to help Mr Burton track down this mystery lady.

"It's a long shot but let's hope we can bring them together after all these years."

The woman had long dark hair and wore a dark top and was with two young boys in school uniform.

Anyone who knows who the woman is or recognises him should email