When Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity (FNHC) invited men to join the Midnight Walk, little did the organisers know that this year’s event would be the most romantic one ever.
Tasha Cooper overcame the physical challenge of her cerebral palsy to complete the five mile route round Aylesbury. As she and boyfriend Scott Gotts approached the Finish, a crowd of Walkers, Marshals and helpers gathered to cheer her over the line, and moments later, in front of everyone, Scott brought an engagement ring out and popped the question.
“I was completely taken aback! I had no idea he was planning it,” said Tasha. “It took a few moments for it to sink in. I was so happy.”
And Tasha wasn’t the only one fighting tears of joy, as the assembled Walkers couldn’t believe their eyes.
“It was just so romantic,” said Kirsty Shanahan, PR & Marketing Manager at FNHC. “I was standing right by them, and a huge gasp went up from everyone as they realised what Scott was doing. It was really emotional and an absolutely lovely part of the night.”
Scott and Tasha have been together three years, although they have known each other for 17 years. Tasha says she always wanted to do the Midnight Walk, but walking is difficult because of her condition. “I have wanted to do the Midnight Walk for many years but didn’t have the confidence to,” she said. “I wanted to do it to give something back to the community and I think the Hospice does something amazing for people when they are going through something awful. This year I did it because Scott said he would do it with me to support me. He also walked for his great-uncle who had Stage 4 prostate cancer.”
The Midnight Walk has never hosted a marriage proposal before.
“I thought it would be a perfect time,” Scott said. “I thought it showed our commitment to each other and I knew Tasha would be hurting at the end and I thought it would be a good way to lessen the pain she was in. I had been planning it since we entered.”
Was he nervous about proposing in front of a whole crowd of people?
“I felt fine until the last 200m where I got really nervous particularly as Tasha was getting tired and I thought I might have to carry her over the finish so I could propose!”
“Neither of us expected such a large crowd as we finished,” said Tasha. “Although, the atmosphere was so happy and supportive as we finished. Neither of us would change it. Sharing it with everyone made it even more special!”
The couple plan to get married in summer 2020, and Mark Duncan from Midnight Walk sponsor acar2go has already offered them a wedding car. But they’ll be back to do the Midnight Walk again before that.
“I think we both intend to take part in the Walk in future as it has become very memorable for us both in the best way,” says Tasha.