Going looks good after loving proposal
STEPHEN PULLINGER When legal consultant Chris Keightley arrived in Yarmouth on a romantic break with his girlfriend he could not stop agonising over his careful plans to propose to her.
When legal consultant Chris Keightley arrived in Yarmouth on a romantic break with his girlfriend he could not stop agonising over his careful plans to propose to her. Was it a racing certainty she would say yes or would their six-month relationship simply go to the dogs?
His moment of truth came after the fifth greyhound race at Yarmouth Stadium when more than 30 screens around the arena flashed up the words: Will you marry me Charlotte, love Chris.
Before Charlotte Read, 21, could catch her breath, work colleague Chris, 32, was down on one knee proposing in front of more than 300 spectators.
To loud cheers, and much to Chris's relief, her reply was yes, the magic word signalling the announcement for the sixth race - the Will You Marry Me Charlotte Read Trophy.
Chris, of Harwich, Essex, said: "I have been a dog racing fan since I went to the Milton Keynes track as a boy and I just got this idea for a proposal off the top of my head two months ago.
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"We came up for a couple of days and I went to Pleasurewood Hills theme park, in Lowestoft, and a couple of bars before ending up at the race track. I was nervous the whole time and had to hide the race card from Charlotte until after the fifth race.
"If she had said no in front of all those people I would have been distraught and I think I would have got my coat and slowly walked out."
Chris, who paid £75 to sponsor the race, met Charlotte, a help desk administrator, at the Colchester branch of Spicer Haart estate agents where they both work.
Recalling her moment in the limelight, Charlotte said: "My first reaction was of absolute horror. I had never been so embarrassed and just burst into tears.
"But then I had this most amazing feeling in front of all these people and I did not have to even think before I said yes."
Chris had a double reason to celebrate for he even bet on the winning dog, Michael's Boy, in his own race, choosing it because Michael is his brother's middle name.
Recovering slightly from the emotion, Chris and Charlotte went into the arena to present the trophy to winning trainer Ian Brown, of Ormesby, near Yarmouth.
The couple, who are buying a home in Harwich, have set their wedding date for September 6 next year.
Stadium director Simon Franklin said: "As far as I am aware this is the first time this has ever happened at the track but it was all good fun - and it was lucky that she said yes."