Tower of love for Sam and Richard

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Richard Mylchreest and Sam Lindsey-Birchall showed the tower of love when they got engaged in front of crowds taking part in the annual escorted walk to Conister Rock.

They were two of some 3,400 people who took advantage of the low tides on Tuesday to visit the Tower of Refuge in Douglas bay.

Richard Mylchreest and Sam Lindsey-Birchall, who got engaged at the Tower of Refuge during Tuesday's event

Richard Mylchreest and Sam Lindsey-Birchall, who got engaged at the Tower of Refuge during Tuesday's event

The proposal came as a complete surprise to civil servant Sam, aged 38: ‘He said we were going to be going to the Tower of Refuge, which we did.

‘When we got there he dragged me up the steps – I thought we were going to be told to come back down.

‘And then when we got to the top he got down on one knee!’

Richard, aged 35, an airport security officer, had organised the unusual proposal with help from Douglas Council as well as two of their close friends, who also faced the nerve-wracking responsibility of not letting anything slip about the surprise.

‘I was oblivious,’ Sam said.

‘I didn’t pick up on anything.’

When asking if she had expected such a public proposal, she said: ‘I didn’t expect last night at all. I thought it might have been quite little, when we were walking the dogs.’

At the tower, Douglas Mayor Carol Malarkey, Mayoress Sara Hackman and their friends held up photographs, and carried champagne and flowers.

The couple, who have been together since September and live at Greeba, were then congratulated by the crowds as they made their way back to the beach.

It was the first time that Sam had visited the Tower of Refuge but the couple plan many more visits.

‘We will be going out every year for our anniversary.’

The walk, organised by Douglas Development Partnership, was a fundraiser for Douglas RNLI.

People of all ages donned their wellies for the walk across Douglas beach at low tide and then a final slippery section along a seaweed-strewn causeway to Conister Rock and the tower itself.

While there, it was the chance to take pictures of the impressive landmark from all angles before making the walk back.

There was such a strong turn out to the event that the queue snaked a long way back up the beach.

The Tower of Refuge was built in 1832. It was the idea of Sir William Hillary, founder of the RNLI in 1824. He moved to the island in 1808 and died in Douglas in 1847.

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