'I'm willing to make a bit of a show of myself', says Sheffield man who proposed on a train

A Sheffield lovebird pulled out all the stops to make his marriage proposal extra special - by popping the question on a train.

Monday, 13th November 2017, 3:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 2:40 am
Christian Stickland and Claire Hiley shortly after she accepted his proposal (@OliConstable/BBC)

Christian Stickland, from Mosborough, declared his love for Claire Hiley by reading out a poem over the PA system on an East Midlands service from Sheffield to London on Saturday.

He then strode down the aisle, with fellow passengers wishing him luck as he passed, before getting down on one knee and asking her to marry him.

Christian and Claire with staff from East Midlands Trains, which helped him plan the proposal (@OliConstable/BBC)

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The 34-year-old, who works as an operational manager for Network Rail, spent a month planning the romantic gesture to make it truly memorable.

"Seeing the look of surprise on Claire's face made it all worthwhile, though she probably won't thank me for that," he said.

"I'm quite willing to make a bit of a show of myself but she's a bit more reserved.

"As soon as she said yes, everyone started clapping, and throughout the journey people were coming up and congratulating us.

Christian and Claire with staff from East Midlands Trains, which helped him plan the proposal (@OliConstable/BBC)

"It was a really nice experience and certainly one we will never forget."

The Heartbeat poem Christian chose was taken from the Shane Meadows film A Room for Romeo Brass, in which Paddy Considine's character reads it to Ladine, played by Vicky McClure, during their first date.

"When we watched it together a few years ago, she said 'that's the sort of thing you'd do'. Paddy Considine plays a rather simple character, a bit like me," said Christian.

Christian and Claire, who is aged 39 and also works for Network Rail, as a planning assistant, have been together for four years.

They each have two children, aged seven and 10, from a previous marriage, and Christian said it was only once he had broken the news to them shortly before the proposal that the nerves really set in.

Christian, who arranged the surprise with East Midlands Trains, pretended he was popping to the toilet before making his announcement shortly after the train had passed Derby.

The couple, who were headed to the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, toasted their engagement on board with a bottle of champagne - in first-class, naturally.

They attended the Remembrance Day ceremony in Sheffield city centre the following day with Claire's children and her parents - whom he had told of his intentions in advance, as tradition dictates.