FEATHERS were ruffled at London Zoo this Valentine’s Day as one love-struck animal lover, joined by his own string quartet, proposed to his sweetheart live on camera.
James Roberts, 27, from Chester, popped the question to his girlfriend of six years Michelle Rogers, 26, during a VIP visit to the new Penguin Beach before London Zoo had even opened its gates – and she said yes!
In a competition run by The Chronicle and Chester’s Grosvenor Shopping Centre to win a proposal of a lifetime, James was selected as a winner with his heartfelt entry about a recent car accident that left him with a broken sternum, muscle and nerve damage in his back and post-concussive syndrome.
James said: “I don't know what I would have done without Michelle over the last 12 months, she was there for me every day and thanks to her I am almost back to full health. This proposal is my way of showing her how much I truly appreciate and love her.”
James and Michelle were the first visitors to the zoo on Tuesday morning with a VIP tour of Penguin Beach that set the scene perfectly for the entrance of London string quartet Niche, playing the couple’s favourite song Paradise by Coldplay.
The proposal was also recorded by ITV, filmed by a crew with phone cameras and streamed live online so all of their family and friends could watch with intent as James got down on one bended knee.
To complete the surprise, the couple’s parents were waiting nearby in the Butterfly House to congratulate them with Michelle’s favourite flowers and a big bottle of bubbly.
Centre general manager Julie Webb said: “We spent a month searching for the perfect proposal idea and James’ story was really touching. There is so much pressure now on couples to create marriage proposals that have never been done before, so it was great to provide James with the budget and team he needed to create his perfect proposal and so exciting to see it all unfold.”
James added: “It was very hectic setting up the proposal without Michelle knowing and I did have to tell a few white lies, but it was all worth it in the end.
“I’m so grateful for the support of Grosvenor Shopping Centre, the proposal was bigger and better than I ever could have imagined.”
To see a video of the proposal, visit www.chesterchronicle.co.uk