The happy couple at the scene of Mike's proposal
Popping the question for Mike Aston was a far bigger deal than simply saying the words.
He carved his declaration of devotion “Beth Will You Marry Me?” in a giant heart on the sand below the Winter Gardens... as she celebrated her 18th birthday.
What he little suspected was just how his moving gesture would end up touching the hearts of thousands.
Many passersby spotted his gesture from the lower and upper promenades, where a funfair was in full swing and many took photographs.
Beth Powell, a former Canterbury College student, of Dane Hill Grove, Margate, thought Mike, of Felderland Lane, Sandwich, was acting a little strangely when he said he had to go to work at the Professional shop at Royal St George’s Golf Club, for a short time on Friday.
She said: “I was surprised when he sent a message saying I will be home in half an hour, be ready, we are taking the dog for a walk on the beach. He doesn’t usually get walks at that time.”
The pair were joined by Beth’s mum Vicki and set out for a walk with border collie Robbie on the promenade above the Winter Gardens.
Beth wondered why her boyfriend first pushed her away from the cliff top and then manouvered her up to the railings for a good view of the beach where all was revealed.
She said: “He then turned around and said ‘will you marry me?’. I cried with joy, I was so happy.”
Mike’s mum Amanda captured the next moment when she said “yes” and fell into Mike’s arms.
The sand proposal was gently obliterated by the evening tide within hours, but the records live on and Beth is now the owner of a beautiful diamond engagement ring.
Mike said he chose the spot because it is a special place where they always walk the dog.
He said: “I thought a proposal like this would be really cool to do. I had planned it quite a while. It took about an hour to do and a lot of running up and down the hill making sure it looked OK.
“I was so nervous when I took Beth there. I didn’t realise there was a funfair on!”
Beth's acceptance was sealed with this lovely ring
The couple had both attended Sandwich Technology School and known each other for years but never spoken.
Beth admitted at school she had thought Mike, 18, from Felderland Road, Sandwich, was “a bit mouthy” while Mike considered Beth to be “out of my league”, but confessed he had “thought quite highly of Beth.”
They met up again through mutual friends at Howletts Wild Animal Park, where they started chatting and soon struck up a rapport.
“He...turned around and said ‘will you marry me?’. I cried with joy, I was so happy” - Beth Powell
They have been going out together officially for about 10 months and share a similar sense of humour and a lot of laughs.
Beth, formerly of Eastry, said: “Mike is very romantic, he is always leaving me little love notes to find and he spoils me a lot.”
The happy couple expect to wait a while so they can save up for a really special wedding.
Horse lover Beth, who studied animal management at Canterbury College, is currently looking for a job.
They do know that the landmark spot at the Winter Gardens will play a special part in their celebration and always in their hearts.