Hitchin couple celebrate magical leap year moment
PUBLISHED: 17:28 02 March 2020
A couple from Hitchin celebrated an unusual leap year tradition by starting an exciting new chapter in their lives together.
When Stephen Haw woke up on Saturday morning, he had no idea that life was about to change forever.
All Stephen was told was that his girlfriend, Bobby, had arranged a day out in Brighton and the couple had to be there for 9:20am.
Unbeknown to him, she had won a competition for a secret leap year proposal on the British Airways i360 - a 360-degree view observation tower on Brighton's seafront.
Stephen and Bobby were the only two in the viewing pod, and were due to abseil down the 160m structure before poor weather conditions and high winds made that impossible.
About halfway up the attraction, You're Beautiful by James Blunt started playing and Bobby took Stephen's hand and walked him around the pod - where champagne, roses and chocolates were waiting for him.
Bobby went down on one knee and popped the question with a homemade ring - with Stephen accepting once his emotions had settled.
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Stephen said: "It was overwhelming and I was gobsmacked at the time. I couldn't get a word out for a few minutes after.
"The weather was terrible on the day, but as soon as Bobby proposed the sun came out. It was a lovely day and like it was written in the stars."
Stephen, who runs Fleetville Emporium in Hitchin, said the emotional moment was extra special because of Bobby's homemade, recycled ring.
He added: "The ring really made me cry because it fits in with my ethos of sustainability.
"I hate waste. My day job is to give secondhand stuff, or what people consider to be junk, a purpose again. That made the ring really special to me."
The couple have been together for the last 13 years, and Stephen says that Bobby probably got tired waiting, so popped the question herself.
Stephen said: "It was probably my fault this happened to be honest. I was definitely procrastinating and should have done it myself!"
Famous examples of a woman proposing to a man include Queen Victoria, who asked Prince Albert for his hand in marriage in 1839.
Others include Joanne Mas who popped the question to Danny Dyer in 2015 and Pink proposing to Corey Hart in 2005.