I’ve known mark for years – I was a youth worker at his church and spent lots of time putting together sound systems and putting up lights with him. Mark’s the kind of solid guy you can depend on to do an outstanding job. He’s quiet and gentle and incredibly hard working. His fiancé, Ellen, is kind, caring, funny and lovely. Together they are quiet, loving and humble.

Mark sent me this message:

I had to read it several times – amazing news to hear and the prospect of being involved with something like this was so exciting. I had a look at accommodation and travel and we worked out that we could make it happen. Accommodation and train tickets booked, I headed out to Paris the next Friday.

I love France – I love the quiet nature of its citizens, I love the culture and the language, and of course the food! I arrived in Paris after a short delay on the train and walked through a ghost town. The streets were empty apart from small knots of people transfixed by the screen showing their national team play Uruguay in the World Cup Quarter Finals. After dropping my bags at the hotel, I navigated the hotel to the site of the proposal – The Trocadero plaza in front of the Eiffel Tower – surely the most romantic place in the entire world.

I scouted around for the best location, took come pictures and then headed back to the hotel to get to sleep – I had an early start.

Mark and I had agreed that the best time for his proposal would be around 6.30am as the sun would be up, with gentle morning light kissing the tower, and the location should be relatively free of tourists. The next puzzle for Mark was how to get Ellen to the location at the right time without arousing suspicion. He managed to convince her to come for an early breakfast and the plan was in motion.

Part of the problem was that if Ellen saw me, she would recognise me and know that something was afoot. I had given mark specific instructions as to where to stand and which direction to face, and I made sure that as they came onto the plaza, I was hidden out of sight.

Mark did an amazing job - he stood in the right spot and the timing was perfect. Ellen said yes and they're getting married in 2020.