Andy met Sal in a pub in Sussex in 1988.. As luck would have it they were both newly single and so their love story started there.
Five years later they were living together with their 3 year old son in a very hostile Nigeria for Andy’s work. Although their living complex was vast and safe, some of the sights and experiences they saw outside of the complex were harrowing. The area was becoming increasingly unsafe. The government were threatening to make life increasingly difficult to travel back to the UK so in 1994 they married within a week of Andy “proposing” over a public radio system, without family or UK friends, in Council offices located within a municipal waste unit!
Their daughter was born a year later in Nigeria, where the sun shone brightly every day. However their posting with Guinness came to an end and a choice of jobs offered – Andy turned down the Seychelles and they moved to Cheshire, where it seemed to rain every day. They carried on living their lives as a happy yet fast paced family. Andy has always worked incredibly hard and even now despite being semi-retired in 2018, he has returned to full time work.
They moved back to Sussex for the children’s schooling and now back to Sal’s roots in Kent, where she can care for her mother now the children have left home. Life never stops for them. That’s why Sal had to start planning her proposal six months before their short trip to Cornwall.
It didn’t quite run as intended; the trip was all booked for the summer, then Andy had to have an emergency tooth operation which needed 2 weeks recuperation, so the proposal was rescheduled for November – but the night before they travelled Andy was taken ill with a suspected 24hr bug and subsequently slept all the way on the journey to Cornwall.
They arrived at Pentillie with just an hour or so before the sun set. The plan had been to wander in the gardens to find and re-enact the scene from Delicious where they were drinking champagne from mugs upon the stone steps and looking out at the amazing views.
As still not feeling well, Andy was tempted to want to stay and relax in the Tillie room but Sal urged him to get out and go for a walk down to the river before the light faded. She had to encourage him if her plan was to work.
They walked down through the woods and past the Bathing Hut where the River Tamar flows parallel to the quay. Sal walked over to the bench that sits alongside hoping that it would be dry enough to sit on but it was damp with the November air.
They stood by the side of the river admiring the view. The moment was there. Sal turned to face him and started with the words she had been preparing for the past six months:
“After 31 years together we have had 2 kids, amazing stresses from work and we have survived. Our love is still expanding like the universe. I love you to the moon and back and again. Darling Andy, will you remarry me?”
Andy didn’t quite know what to say at first – it was a total surprise! He hugged her and held her so tightly then he whispered “Yes, oh yes please” in her ear.
She handed him a card she had prepared and a quirky keepsake key ring that summed up the words she had said “I wish I had known you earlier so I could have loved you longer”. They wandered back to the castle still as smitten as ever but with the delayed proposal complete and promise that they will be together forever more. They had ‘Dinner in the Castle’ booked that evening and celebrated with a bottle of champagne. Their children had no idea what Sal had been planning so thought it was a joke when they found out!
The next day they checked out and returned to their busy lives in Sussex. Being married in Nigeria, Sal has never truly been sure if there is a UK record. She knew she wanted to be with Andy forever and was determined to make it official and true. After seeing Pentillie on the television she knew it was the perfect place to pop the question. Her words in the visitor’s book are short but say so much!
We at Pentillie are thrilled to be chosen and able to accommodate Sal’s surprise proposal. We wish them all the joy in the world and hope that life slows to a pace that they can truly enjoy each other’s company in a long and happy retirement as an official husband and wife!