A picture of a couple getting engaged at The Cross in Chester has gone viral – after the romantic moment was captured on camera by a passer-by and posted online.
If it was not unusual for Tom Jones to propose to his girlfriend in Chester city centre, then the staggering number of times the image has been shared on social media certainly is.
Tom, 27, and Beckii Heard, 24, say they are “overwhelmed” by the public response to the photo, after the M&S worker got down on one knee to pop the question to a stunned Beckii.
The picture was taken by fellow Chester woman Annabell Parry, who spotted what was unfolding so she snapped the proposal on her mobile phone.
Realising it was something the pair would like to keep, she exchanged contact numbers with them and promised to text it to them.
But a mix-up over numbers meant Tom and Beckii never received the image as planned.
The pair thought they may never see the picture again – until it was shared by Annabell on Facebook with a plea asking anyone who recognised the newly-engaged pair to ‘tag’ them so they could see it for themselves.
The post has since clocked up thousands upon thousands of shares online and has now been seen again by Tom and Beckii too.
Tom joked the response to the photo was “madness” but added both he and his fiancee were thrilled a complete stranger had kindly taken so much trouble to ensure they could see it.
Beckii, a supervisor at the Schuh store in Chester, said: “It has reached so many people, I really can’t believe it. I’m overwhelmed.”
Tom explained that while he had been planning to propose to his partner of three years for several weeks, events did not quite unfold as planned.
He had originally intended to pop the question at the couple's home, off Liverpool Road, but had a change of heart and instead decided to do it after a 60th wedding anniversary meal for his grandparents on Sunday.
But when family members left The Architect pub sooner than expected, Tom was forced into Plan C – to take Beckii for a short walk and propose at The Cross where they met for their first date. The actual spot he chose was just outside Siddall’s Optometrists, a few metres from The Cross.
Beckii, a former Christleton High School pupil, said: “We got to The Cross and Tom went down on one knee, I thought to tie his shoelaces. But he grabbed hold of me and was shaking and pulled this ring out.
“My first words were ‘oh my God’.
“He was stuttering and said ‘will you be my wife, will you marry me?’, and I said ‘of course I would, of course, yes’.”
Former Blacon High School pupil Tom said: “It was right in the middle of Chester. We had people clapping and cheering which was great.
“It went from the original plan of just the two of us to this massive, massive celebration which is great – just brilliant.”
The city centre was busier than usual due to a major Pokémon Go event taking place, and passer-by Annabell was on the hunt for characters at the time with her children.
Annabell has been “surprised” by the reaction to the picture, adding: “All I wanted was to give them a lovely photo of the moment.”
The happy couple continued their celebrations at the Commonhall Street Social bar over a bottle of Prosecco.
It was not until later that evening when the picture was shared online that their phones started to buzz with messages from friends and family.
The image was also posted on the Chester’s Biggest Community Notice Board Facebook page, where it has been shared more than 24,000 times – drawing more than 500 comments.
“It’s now my profile picture on Facebook,” said Beckii.
Tom added: “The picture is perfect. We’ll print it off and put it on the wall. It’s a great, great photo.”
See full story in the Chester Leader