A Whanganui man who was searching for his lost "love" has now found his "yellow rose".

Gene Pitkethley placed an advertisement in the newspaper to try to find "Leah Spicer", a friend he had fallen in love with in at school in the 1980s.

"I've loved you since I met you at high school in Whanganui," he wrote. "You are my Yellow Rose, my Heart and my All. Love always Gene P."

Now after the classified ad went viral, Pitkethley found Leah.

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The ad that was placed in the newspaper. Photo / Supplied
The ad that was placed in the newspaper. Photo / Supplied

Speaking to the Herald, Pitkethley said he finally has closure but says online trolls had dampened his spirits after finding Leah.

"A friend of a friend of a friend knew where she was and I managed to get some information and that's all I was really after.

"As far as I'm concerned case closed. And due to the amount of s** on Facebook I'm getting and possibly she may be getting - which I was not trying to do to her - so I'm willing to let it go. I got the closure I needed.

"I wish the idiots on Facebook wouldn't be able to be so negative about life."

READ MORE: Whanganui man seeks high school sweetheart

Pitkethley said although he harboured romantic feelings when the pair first met in 1982, when Pitkethley was in the fourth form, he believed that Leah didn't share those feelings and didn't reveal his crush for fear of ruining their friendship.

The pair suffered constant jibes from friends who told them what a great couple they would make

They lost contact in 1994, when Pitkethley became engaged.

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She visited him at home in Whanganui where he shared the happy news and Leah told him about her current, happy relationship.

But after leaving and falling out of contact, Pitkethley always wondered what happened to Leah.

When Pitkethley's brother died from cancer two years ago he left Gene with a message: "Don't leave with any regrets," spurring him to search for Leah and deal with his "biggest regret".

Since finding Leah, the Whanganui father of two said he's leaving the ball in her court should she want to contact him again.

"I'm happy, and I have my closure. I'm just happy that she's happy. She's been living her life and that's all I wanted to find out. If she ever wants to get in touch the ball is in her court."