A match made on the waves for newly-wed Sheringham Coastguard and lifeboat crew member
- Credit: Archant
It was a match made at sea for newly-married Sheringham lifeboat crew member Paul Harding, whose bride is a local Coastguard who accepted his proposal on board a two-man kayak in Italy.
The couple, who tied the knot at Holt country house Voewood at the weekend, hit it off straight away when they met 13 years ago while training on the River Glaven with outdoor education company Kingswood.
'From the moment I met Caroline, I knew she was the one and I ended up getting a work transfer and following her to the Isle of Wight,' Paul said.
The pair, both 36, then spent two years working in Caroline's home country of France, before heading back to the UK in 2011 to work for Kingswood in north Norfolk.
Paul, who is now a manager with Norwich City Football Club's Community Sports Foundation, signed up as a Sheringham lifeboat crew member shortly after moving to the town, while Caroline, who runs her own haberdashery and craft shop, decided to volunteer with the Coastguard Rescue Service the following year.
'In my first week of training, we had to rescue someone from the cliffs and that was it really,' she said. 'It was a nice fit for me, we have got a great team and it feels good to be doing something to help people.'
While on holiday in Positano, in southern Italy, in 2016, Paul put his meticulously planned wedding proposal into action, presenting Caroline with a specially-made engagement ring featuring a diamond and the coastline of Hawaii, where she worked as a student.
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'It was a complete surprise so there was a lot of pressure and it was pretty nerve-wracking,' he said. 'But, luckily, she said yes and I haven't looked back; Caroline brightens every part of my life, she just makes me happy.'
Caroline, who grew up in Etampes, near Paris, said she had no hesitation in accepting.
'When I met Paul, I was amazed by how well he communicated with children,' she explained. 'I knew he was a kind and caring person, he makes me laugh and he is always there for me.'
The couple, who celebrated with around 150 guests, including fellow Coastguard and lifeboat crew members, are looking forward to juggling married life with work - and their life-saving resposibilities.
'It is important to us,' Paul said. 'For me, it's about being selfless and helping people - and the boat is quite quick which makes it good fun.'