See the touching moment romantic Washington man proposes to partner at dog agility competition

Mark Leybourne, 52, proposed to his partner of four years Joanne Shawley, 48, at the International Agility Festival. Photo by Yulia Titovets.
Mark Leybourne, 52, proposed to his partner of four years Joanne Shawley, 48, at the International Agility Festival. Photo by Yulia Titovets.
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A romantic boyfriend got the answer he dreamed of when he popped the question to his dog mad girlfriend in the ring at a prestigious competition.

Mark Leybourne, 52, proposed to his partner of four years, Joanne Shawley, 48, at the International Agility Festival held at Rockingham Castle, Rockingham, Northamptonshire, on Friday after a day of competing with their four Border Collies.

Mark decided the perfect way to propose to Joanne was in the arena at the festival, hosted by the Kennel Club.

But little did they know that Crufts officials had captured the touching moment on film and the video has since gone viral - racking up 15,000 views on Facebook.

The Nissan engineer, from Fatfield, said: “It was absolutely lovely and the best bit was that Joanne didn’t have a clue it was going to happen.

“It was my third year doing dog agility, which is Joanne’s sport and she got me into it.

“She was in the ring with me on the pretext that I was going to make a speech on how agility helped me back into fitness after I was badly injured four years ago.”

Although Mark wasn’t nervous about proposing in front of a large crowd, he said it was a nerve-wracking wait to find out whether he would be allowed to propose at the event.

But thanks to his friend who had a stall there, the management team were able to give the green light to the proposal.

“I had to wait until 3.30pm that afternoon before I found out I could do it,” Mark added.

“Nerves didn’t wash over me at all - I was just worried she was doing to find out, as I was so eager for it to be a surprise.

“But she had absolutely no idea.”

It was the perfect proposal for veterinary nurse Joanne, who has been competing in the sport since she was 10 years old.

The couple met on dating website Plenty of Fish back in 2014 and had their first date walking Joanne’s dogs before Mark took up Joanne’s love of competing in dog agility events.

Mark even sealed the deal with a dog paw engagement ring - to Joanne’s delight.

He added: “Back in March 2014 I suffered a shoulder injury after one of the dogs pulled a frisbee from my hand and I snapped he nerves in my right arm.

“I lost the feeling in my arm for six months until the nerves grew back.

“During my recovery I took up agility and that got me going again.

“Joanne supported me throughout, she is an incredible woman.”