Padiham firefighter pulls off romantic marriage proposal despite blistering agony at finish line of epic coast to coast challenge walk
The finish line of an epic coast to coast walk, with him in agony, was not how Padiham firefighter Joey Hawke had pictured a romantic proposal to his girlfriend.
With a planned trip to Florida, where he had originally planned to pop the question, cancelled twice due to Covid-19 Joey decided to make the grand gesture to his sweetheart, Emily Harrison, in Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire, the finishing point of the four day charity trek from St Bee's in Cumbria.
And despite being in tremendous pain from an infected blister on his foot, Joey (31) managed to pull off the romantic proposal in front of colleagues, family, friends and a crowd of around 100 people who had gathered to watch.
Joey's mum distracted Emily (28) while colleagues unfurled a banner behind her saying "Will you marry me Emily Rose?'
Joey said: "As she turned to look at the banner I got down on one knee so that when she turned back round I would be there in front of her with the ring.
"When she saw the banner she did a double take, I think just to make sure it was for her and, of course, she said yes."
And, after a evening of celebrating the couple spent the night in Robin's Head Bay before heading straight to the nearest A and E department the following day where Joey was prescribed antibiotics for his blister injury which was threatening to turn septic.
Joey, who completed the challenge in full fire kit, including 17kg of breathing apparatus, was raising money for the Fire Fighters Charity and the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Charity (RNRMC). He was joined by Phil Riley, an on call firefighter at Rawtenstall and Duncan Fraser and Anthony Walsh, who are both serving in the Royal Navy.
Anthony's wife Tracy joined the team as support and Rawtenstall firefighter Mike Crompton completed 26 miles of the route at the end and also delivered Emily's engagement ring safely to Joey!
The team managed to complete the walk in four days, 13 hours and 55 minutes and have raised around £4,000.
Joey, who works as a fire prevention senior technician, was first inspired to support the Fire Fighters charity after seeing how Covid-19 had impacted its normal fundraising over the last year.
He added: “I know a few firefighters that have previously used the charity’s services, with a few going to Jubilee House in Cumbria, so I know what a good job it does.”
Together for five years, Joey and Emily, who runs a dog walking business called Walkies with Emily, are now renovating a home they have moved to in Padiham and plans are on the cards for a wedding in 2023.
If you would like to donate to the Fire Fighters charity, or organise a fundraising event in support of the vital work it does you can visit its website here: https://www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/