Love Island winners Sanam Harrinanan and Kai Fagan have thanked those who supported them while they were in the villa as they described their time on the show as a “beautiful experience”.

Social worker Harrinanan, 24, and science and PE teacher Fagan, also 24, began their relationship on the ITV2 reality dating show in Casa Amor before capturing viewers’ hearts with 44% of the public voting for them to win and claim the £50,000 prize money during Monday’s grand finale.

They beat fellow couples Lana Jenkins and Ron Hall, who received 30% of the votes, and Samie Elishi and Tom Clare, on 24% of the votes, who finished in second and third place respectively.

Fourth was Tanya Mahenga and Shaq Muhammad, who got 2% of the public votes.

In her first Instagram post since leaving the villa, Harrinanan posted a photo of herself in a mint green corseted dress alongside Fagan who wore a shirt with a sky design and white jeans, on Thursday.

She wrote alongside the image: “The start of our love story. I can’t thank you all enough for the love you have given us.

“It honestly means the world to me to see how much support we have received. The positive messages, the videos of our journey, the fan pages, I honestly feel so blessed and overwhelmed with positive emotions I can’t express it.”

Harrinanan, from Bedford, continued: “Love Island has been a beautiful experience for me and I’m so proud of say I’ve left with someone I love, admire, look up to, connect with on a deeper level and absolutely value and appreciate everything he stands for.

“I’m so excited to continue our journey on the outside and can’t wait for us to become so much more.”

Fagan, from Manchester, commented on the post “honestly you’re the world” adding earth and heart emojis.

He also shared his own post on Instagram, saying he was “so grateful” for the opportunity and to be walking away with a “humble, intelligent, caring, loving” partner in Harrinanan.

Alongside a collection of photos and videos from their time in the villa, he wrote: “Thank you so much to everyone that’s shown their love and support towards us both, we honestly appreciate it so much and our hearts feel so warm!

“It’s still not sunk in and don’t think it will for a while. I feel so grateful for the opportunity but most importantly of all I’m walking away with a girl that’s a dream and more.

“She’s humble, intelligent, caring, loving and so much more, I’m honestly so excited to start this journey on the outside with her my real life Disney princess.”

He added: “I have honestly fallen head over heels for her (if you can’t tell) and wanted to keep certain intimate things between us for the first time before we tell the world, just so we can saviour the moment more.

“This one is a big one for me and I mean this with my full heart. I LOVE YOU TOO SANAM.”

Harrinanan commented: “This is actually the cutest thing ever! I’m so happy we met. I love you x”

The finale of the winter series on Monday had an average audience of 1.1 million viewers, according to overnight figures from ITV.

The last time islanders headed to a villa in South Africa was for the February 2020 winter series of the show, before the pandemic, when 2.4 million viewers tuned in to see singer Paige Turley and footballer Finley Tapp win.

Last year, when the summer series was set in Mallorca, Spain, an average of 2.9 million viewers watched Ekin-Su Culculoglu and Davide Sanclimenti win.

Maya Jama took on hosting duties for the reality show for the first time this year after replacing Laura Whitmore.

Love Island is set to return for a summer 2023 series.