Liam's beach proposal

Richard Parr It was almost mission impossible, but Liam O'Sullivan planned his romantic Christmastime wedding proposal with military precision - on a Norfolk beach.

Richard Parr

It was almost mission impossible, but Liam O'Sullivan planned his romantic Christmastime wedding proposal with military precision.

His partner, Shannon Nicholson, remained completely oblivious about what was about to happen having been persuaded to temporarily leave the cooking for a party being held at the couple's Gallery Bistro bar in the centre of Fakenham.

Liam persuaded 27-year-old Shannon to head to the coast with him but when they arrived at the entrance to Holkham beach - their favourite walk location - she was still none the wiser.

As a light aircraft (previously arranged by Liam) flew overhead with Liam's dad, Sean O'Sullivan, in the co-pilot's seat, the couple dashed through the pinewoods.

They reached the beach just as the aircraft released a parachute, with a toy soldier attached, which floated down and landed on the beach a little way from where they were waiting with a message attached to its waist.

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As Shannon picked up the toy soldier, she read: “this soldier has a message for you,” and “the General would like to ask you a question.”

As Shannon continued reading, Liam, 31, got down on one knee, proposed, and offered up a diamond ring.

An ecstatic Shannon immediately said “yes, of course, I'll marry you” and they both laughed and cried with happiness as Liam slipped the ring on to his future wife's finger.

The couple use 'the general and soldier' as pet names for each other.

Shannon said she found it amazing that Liam should have gone to such efforts to make his proposal different and she still can't quite believe how it happened last Friday morning.

The, couple, who have been together for several years, celebrated getting engagement with a glass of champagne in front of a blazing log fire at Holkham's Victoria Hotel.

The first thing that Shannon did was to call her parents, Bob and Nicki Nicholson, in Texas, to tell them the good news.

“My parents were thrilled for us and I and they were crying and laughing on my mobile phone, it was such a awesome and romantic marriage proposal and one I will never forget,” said Shannon.

News of the couple's engagement has quickly got round Fakenham and people have been calling and phoning offering their congratulations.

The couple, who have yet to set an actual date for their 2009 wedding, are to mark their engagement with a party for their family and friends in January.

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