A BRIDE-to-be got the shock of her life as her boyfriend chose a very public way of asking her to be his wife.
James Smallwood, 29 spent two weeks planning his surprise proposal to 28-year-old Tanya Robson, decking out a removal van with his romantic message.
His dad Mel, who runs Mel Smallwood & Son Removals and Storage in Springwell, jumped at the chance to help his son stage a memorable proposal.
“I had lots of ideas and this was just something that popped into my head,” James told the Echo. “I thought it would be nice to get my dad’s business involved to make it a family thing that we could look back on in years to come.”
James, who works in the bodyshop at Nissan, had arranged to meet Tanya when she finished work at Connexions in Fawcett Street on Friday.
“She was due to finish work at 3pm and James had told her he was taking her to do a bit of shopping,” Mel said. “I arranged to collect the van and meet them there.
“I was parked up on Mowbray Road next to the civic centre. I phoned him and told him to take Tanya to look at the memorial wall. She saw the truck and James told her I was doing a big job at the civic centre.
“He signalled for me to drive towards them and when she saw the banner, he went down on one knee and proposed. She couldn’t stop laughing.”
Tanya, of Grindon, said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked. I am overwhelmed with the response from people in Sunderland tooting their horns, taking pictures and asking to hear the full story. It was original, unexpected, quirky, comical, and romantic all at the same time.” James said the couple have yet to set a date for their nuptials, adding: “It was really fun to plan it with my dad and I’m surprised we actually managed to pull it off.”
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