Yorkshire 'aviation geek' proposes to girlfriend with huge 'marry me' message in sand - as they flew into world's only beach runway

Romantic Jamie Forde surprised his girlfriend with an incredible proposal in the Outer Hebrides.

Jamie Forde surprised his girlfriend with an incredible proposal. Pic: CASCADE NEWS LTD
Jamie Forde surprised his girlfriend with an incredible proposal. Pic: CASCADE NEWS LTD

Mr Forde, an automated machinery service engineer from Wakefield, booked flights from Glasgow to Barra, in the Outer Hebrides, with his girlfriend, prison officer Anna Pond

He arranged for Loganair staff to carve the message: “Anna will you marry me?” into the beach and got the pilot to do an extra fly past to make sure she saw it from the window of their tiny 19-seater turbo-prop plane

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"She was quite shocked, that was definitely the initial reaction,” said Jamie, 26. “She then said yes, which is fantastic. She loved it, by the time we were on the ground and it had sunk in a bit it was great."

Plane-mad Jamie had always wanted to land at Barra. Pic: CASCADE NEWS LTD

Plane-mad Jamie had always wanted to land at Barra, the world’s only airport where scheduled flights land on a beach runway – that disappears at high tide.

"I'm a bit of an aviation geek," he said. "That's how I'd heard of Barra Airport. We love Scotland as well so I thought I'd book us flights and a little trip to Barra."

Jamie was in contact with Barra Airport on the morning of the flight making sure everything was ready to go.

Once the plane neared the beach, he told Anna, 25, to look out of the window.

Anna saw the message on the sand from the plane. Pic: CASCADE NEWS LTD

Keeping the proposal a secret was less difficult than you might think.

Jamie said: "On the morning of the flight I had to ring the airport and let them know which side of the aircraft we'd be sat on.

"They then had to get in touch with the pilot and ask if they'd do an extra fly over. I pretended I was on the phone to the taxi in Barra."

"She knows I'm a plane geek and we do go on little short trips when we can so she didn't really question it when I booked this. It was actually quite easy to keep it a secret."

Staff at Loganair and Barra Airport helped make the proposal happen, and Jamie said he wanted to say thank you to the people of Barra, to Loganair and to Barra Airport.

He added: "Loads of people put a lot of effort in, they basically did it all for me. They nailed it."

The couple, from West Yorkshire, were overwhelmed by the generosity they were shown following the proposal, as news spread around the island fast.

Jamie said: "The taxi from the airport didn't take money from us, we got a takeaway pizza that night and not only did they give us all this free pizza, they also got us a bottle of champagne.

"The taxi driver picked us up another time and also brought us champagne, the post office gave us free cakes and scones.

"That wouldn't have happened anywhere else, it was just this magical little island."

The couple are hoping to get married in the next two years, but don't want to plan too far ahead given the current pandemic.

Jamie said: "We're just going to keep saving and hopefully we can get a date for two years' time."

Many people have asked if the wedding will take place on Barra, but the couple decided that, even though they loved it, it's a little too far from their West Yorkshire home.

Though they have only officially been together for two years, they have known each other all their lives.

"My mum's house, where I grew up, and Anna's house where she grew up are literally semi-detached houses," Jamie said.

"That's how we met. We've only been going out officially two years today but we have known each other a long time.

"All of a sudden here we are, we've bought our first house a couple of months ago and we're getting married, it feels perfect."