Beach stroll brings proposal

A STROLL down to Beer beach was a life-changing occasion for one lucky lady on Friday.

Claire O’Callaghan, 33, arrived that evening from Surrey with her boyfriend Daniel Grove and friends John and Jackie Ford for a long weekend at the Dolphin Hotel.

She thought it would be a normal holiday, but Daniel, 33, had set it up so the Blue Lady, the boat on the beach that he has enjoyed many fishing trips on, carried a banner stating “Will you marry me?”

Even before they checked in at the hotel, they walked down to the beach, Claire saw the banner and Daniel got down on one knee and produced the ring. Beaming, a pleasantly shocked Claire said “yes.” There were cheers from wellwishers looking on and the Herald was on hand to capture the moment.

Daniel’s connection to Beer stems back to his childhood, when he, his granddad Arthur Grove, of Bramble Close, Sidmouth, his dad and his brother, Matthew, used to take deep sea and mackerel fishing trips on the Blue Lady, owned by Cyril Newton, of Clapps Lane, Beer.

Daniel has been visiting ever since, and Claire first came to the village with her family to relax after surviving meningitis when she was seven.

Daniel, who runs a scaffolding business, said: “This is a special place for both of us, somewhere to come for anniversaries.”

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Claire had thought a proposal might come when they holidayed in America later this year, so this came as a total surprise. “I’m completely blown away,” said the revenue analyst for cruise company Royal Caribbean.

John and Jackie were the couple’s matchmakers. John said: “We introduced them and they got on from day one. It was difficult to keep this a secret from Claire!”

Arthur and his wife Pat were in on the plan and were at the beach for the proposal. Arthur said: “This is a very proud moment.”