Lifeboat crew aid marriage proposal

A lifeboat crew had an assignment with a difference when they helped a man propose to his girlfriend.

Harry Owen, 23, arranged for the RNLI lifeboat to go past as he stood on the pier at Criccieth, north Wales, with his girlfriend. As they sailed by, the volunteer crew of the Doris Joan unveiled a banner reading: "Bethan Evans, will you marry me?".

The diving contractor from Conwy said: "It wasn't easy to organise. Beth has been coming to Criccieth with her family for years, so I knew I wanted to propose here.

"Both our mums and her sister helped me and we were going to get a fishing boat to take out the banner, but then her mum suggested the lifeboat. Beth's family has links to the lifeboat station here - her aunt donated money for one of the lifeboats - so it seemed perfect."

The lifeboat was carrying out training exercises that evening and the time of the proposal had to be changed as a result.

Mr Owen, who popped the question on Thursday night, said: "The crew told us when their exercise night was and were happy to put the banner on the side of the launching trailer. I was all ready for 5.45pm but then I got a call to say they had an inspection, so it would be a bit later.

"I had to stall for a bit and keep Beth on the pier for another 45 minutes and when the lifeboat launched there was no banner on the trailer, so I was really worried. But it circled round in front of the pier and the crew unrolled the banner. I can't thank the crew enough."

Luckily, the bride to be said yes. Bethan, a 24-year-old teacher from Llandudno, said: "It was lovely - I've been visiting Criccieth and the lifeboat station for a long time so it was really sentimental. I'll never forget it."

Shortly after the proposal, the crew were called by HM Coastguard to help recover a kiteboard spotted off a nearby beach after its owner had got into difficulty. He managed to swim ashore and his sailing rig was located and taken on to the lifeboat.

Criccieth lifeboat operations manager Peter Williams said: "What began as a routine training evening was more action packed than usual.Thankfully we were able to assist the gentleman with his marriage proposal before being called into service. It goes to show that there's no such thing as a routine launch."