Couple flying high after airborne marriage proposal

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Love was certainly in the air when Patrick Knowles proposed to his sweetheart Julie Foster - by chartering a plane to declare his offer of marriage in the skies above Burnley.

The romantic gesture took place on Saturday afternoon when the happy couple were enjoying a family barbecue in the garden of unsuspecting Julie's Green Close home.

Patrick and Julie

Patrick and Julie

An emotional Julie immediately said "yes" when Patrick dropped to his knees and presented her with an engagement ring, made by their good friend, and featuring a diamond from his mother's own engagement ring.

Julie, a medical sales manager, said: "Patrick had organised a barbecue at my house many months ago, and we invited all our family and friends.

"Everyone knew he was going to propose, except me, but he told no-one how he was going to do it. We were all in the garden enjoying the beautiful weather, when someone said 'look up at that plane'.

"We all gasped as we read the banner. It said 'Julie will you marry me?' and had a love heart and Patrick. When I looked round at Patrick he was on one knee, holding out a ring box and asking me to make him the happiest man in the world by marrying him!

The proposal

The proposal

"I was so shocked, it felt surreal. I immediately said yes, everyone started clapping and some of my friends were crying. It was so romantic."

Patrick (59) and Julie (54) have not set a date yet, but hope to tie the knot next year in the Caribbean, and plan to move to Clitheroe.

Julie added: "It was such a shock, I really was not expecting it, but I am very lucky to be marrying my best friend and soulmate.

"Patrick is quite a reserved and private gentleman so I never expected such a grand gesture like this. We have both been married before and have six grown-up children between us who were all there when he proposed.

"My son Scott, who is in the RAF, had travelled from London especially for it, as had my best friend Jules.

"The ring was made by my friend Wendy Clark who makes jewellery at Higherford Mill, Barrowford. The diamond was remodelled from Patrick's mum Kate Knowles' engagement ring, given to her by her late husband Derek in 1961.

"Kate was at the barbecue and was was thrilled that the outstanding jewel was to remain in the family. She told me she hoped it would bring me as much happiness as it did her, for more than 50 years."