Published: 17:23, 11 August 2020
| Updated: 18:44, 11 August 2020
A professional stuntman proposed to his girlfriend - seconds after being set on fire.
Riky Ash asked his sweetheart Katrina Dobson, a nurse from Sevenoaks, to marry him as he was covered in flames spreading up his back and legs.
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Left speechless by the dramatic stunt, the 48-year-old eventually regained her composure and said yes.
Katrina, who at 6ft 3ins towers above 5ft 3ins Riky, knew he would be set alight, but thought she was just taking part in a photo shoot and had no idea he would propose.
She was told it was for a piece about an NHS nurse finding love and even turned up in her scrubs.
The A&E nurse, who works at the coronavirus unit at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, said: "He sold it to me as a story on something that would make people smile.
"When he was set on fire, I saw he had his hand in his pocket. I thought ‘what are you doing,’ get your hand out of your pocket, and all of a sudden he just took out this ring.
"It really was a lovely way to do it. He lives and breathes his job, so it was the perfect proposal."
The 52-year-old stuntman, who played the ‘Tango man’ in the popular fizzy drinks adverts and did stunts in Tim Burton blockbuster Sleepy Hollow, said: “She couldn’t even get the word ‘yes’ out because she was so shocked.
"This is what I do day in day out. I was so excited to do it. For me it was like doing a big Hollywood blockbuster and I was proposing to my girlfriend at the same time."
We all know each other in the stunt industry, and no one’s ever proposed on fire before.”
During the shoot the trickster, who is from Nottingham, knelt while extending the ring towards his love as she watches on amazed as the flames appear to engulf her partner.
Watch: Stuntman proposes - while on fire
Photographer David Sinclair, who had previously worked with Riky, had doused the stuntman before the stunt.
He said: “The accelerant causes a big whoosh of flame and then dies out immediately. The idea was for the flames to last just enough to say ‘will you marry me Katrina Dobson.’”
The couple met online and went on their first date in March, just before the lockdown.
Katrina said: “It was a whirlwind romance. We went on a date and knew from the very beginning we wanted to spend our time together.
"Then lockdown happened and we spoke on the phone every day for three weeks."
She added: “I love my job working in A&E. I love helping people, but I’ve never found that right person before. I’m pinching myself. I can't believe it's me.”
Riky has been a stunt double for 27 years working on countless commercials, television programmes and films, alongside A-listers including Richard Burton and Johnny Depp.
He hopes his dramatic proposal rewarded his wife-to-be for her tireless work during the pandemic.
The stuntman said: “Katrina has worked so hard during these times and I know that this will make her year receiving my proposal of marriage rewarding her for her continued commitment to changing people’s lives for the better.
"She is a very modest hard working lady, I am very fortunate to have met her and she has changed my life in so many positive ways.”
His short stature has boosted his career and helped him become the Guinness World Records ‘most versatile stuntman’ in 2000 after having doubled actors of all heights, ages and genders.