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A marriage proposal with a difference

PUBLISHED: 12:15 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 12:22 03 July 2010

PARIS, a sunset beach or a gondola in Venice are classic romantic locations for a man to declare his love for his girlfriend.

One of the last places you would expect him to propose would be surrounded by sharks and sea turtles.

PARIS, a sunset beach or a gondola in Venice are classic romantic locations for a man to declare his love for his girlfriend.

One of the last places you would expect him to propose would be surrounded by sharks and sea turtles.

But for Michael Cook, the rare aquatic creatures were at the centre of his decision to take the plunge and propose to his girlfriend Joy Barker at the Sea Life Centre in Yarmouth.

As the couple entered a walkthrough underwater tunnel yesterday morning, Joy was surprised to see two divers unveiling a banner asking her to accept Michael's hand in marriage. As the banner was unfurled in the 250,000-litre tank, inquisitive nurse, zebra and blacktip sharks and graceful turtles gathered to watch.

And the 25-year-old probation supervisor from Lowestoft accepted Michael's unusual and watery proposal.

Michael, 24, from Gorleston, used to work at the Sea Life Centre and he thought it would make an unforgettable venue for his pledge of love.

But the shop manager had to persuade his girlfriend of more than a year to go to the centre by telling her he had a free ticket.

He was also very anxious not to give the game away as they toured the building.

Despite Michael's best efforts to conceal his plans, his new fiancée was aware something was up as he chain-smoked before entering the centre.

And Michael was so nervous that he could not bend down on one knee in the tunnel, which was full of visitors who clapped as Joy said “yes”.

She said: “I was a bit embarrassed at first. But he is a star and it is so sweet to see what he set up. I just love him to bits.”

After saying yes, Joy was whisked off in a limousine by Michael to the Priory Farm Restaurant in St Olaves. They hope to marry next summer.

Jane Smith, from the Sea Life Centre, who helped set up the proposal stunt, said: “We all wish them the very best for the future, and in these dreary times it is nice to help to bring a bit of happiness into people's lives.”


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