Mum makes amazing surprise Leap Day proposal to ‘absolute rock’ - and it’s a yes!
PUBLISHED: 20:06 29 February 2020 | UPDATED: 20:27 29 February 2020
After standing by his partner’s side while she battled cancer, Jordan Ayers deserved something special.
And he certainly got that when Laura Goddard made the most of a Leap Day loophole to propose in style.
The couple's memorable moment arose when Urban Jungle Suffolk - a popular Beccles garden centre - launched a competition to help a customer prepare for an extraordinary leap day proposal.
Traditionally, Leap Day is the one day of the year that women can propose to men.
And Mrs Goddard, of Spexhall, wanted to make the most of the rare opportunity, entering the contest a few weeks ago.
Inspired by the support of her "absolute rock", she went through the plan of proposing to Mr Ayers in style - and her "heartfelt, beautiful story" was selected by the Urban Jungle Suffolk team.
In July 2015 Mrs Goddard - the owner of Halesworth Day Nursery - went to the doctors with a lump, which turned out to be breast cancer.
The 35-year-old said: "Four months later I had to undergo a double mastectomy and reconstruction and Jordan took time off to care and look after me while I recovered.
"Four months after my surgery, to my consultant's shock, we found out I was expecting our first and only child together."
The couple's son Charlie is now three-years-old and they are a blended family of seven.
She added: "Jordan has treated my three older children like his own and I cannot thank him enough for his care and love for our family."
Having met with the Urban Jungle Suffolk team and had about three weeks to the put the proposal plans into action, she said: "We went and had a coffee in the café, before heading out into the garden and I had a 'code' plant to say that led to the staff taking us to the polytunnel, where we went through two sets of bamboos and there was a table and Prosecco waiting for afternoon tea.
"There were pictures of us, and the family on the table, so I smiled and while I did not get down on one knee, I asked Jordan if he would marry me and he said yes!"
Mr Ayers, 30, a marine engineer who works in Gorleston, "was amazed and is still in a bit of shock," according to Miss Goddard.
She added: "He was really taken aback at the level of planning that has gone into it all.
"It was lovely, really special.
"It has been amazing - I am really glad I pulled it off, and he said I did well."
To keep plans as secret as possible, only a small number of the Urban Jungle team knew about the proposal.
Alannah Pummell, marketing and events manager, said: "When we met Laura to go through ideas for her secret proposal, we came up with a plan so Jordan wouldn't suspect anything.
"We gave Laura a voucher for our café for winning a fictitious social media competition and made a plan for her to lead him into one of our polytunnels where we have an array of tropical and exotic plants on sale.
"We had decked out the polytunnel with beautiful plants, trees and foliage for the special occasion."
The polytunnel was decorated with lanterns, rugs, cushions and candles to complement the unique setting of the jungle café and foliage where in the centre of the room sat a table for two.
Mrs Goddard had sent an array of family photos to make their children feel part of the special occasion which the team at Urban Jungle incorporated.
The couple were given a Prosecco afternoon tea which was cleverly hidden behind a screen of plants before the proposal took place.
'My absolute rock'
After meeting in Lowestoft, the couple had been dating for about a year when Mrs Goddard received the awful news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
She recalled: "We had not been together that long and weren't living together, I was in Halesworth, Jordan was in Carlton Colville.
"But it just spiralled from there. I had major surgery in October and six months after I was expecting Charlie.
"We decided to move in together in Spexhall - so we have been through quite a lot together in such a short amount of time.
"Throughout it all Jordan has been my absolute rock.
"This was my chance to do something special for him, to say thank you."
As well as the special proposal, Mrs Goddard booked a meal for the evening and they were set to stay the night at a hotel in Beccles.
She added: "Most of the family have known. Jordan's mum gave me his grandad's wedding ring to propose with, but I did not mention it to the children."