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Lowestoft couple take marriage plunge

PUBLISHED: 17:30 25 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:53 05 July 2010

TAKING THE PLUNGE: Michael Cook proposed to his partner Joy Barker at the Sea Life centre.  Divers hold the message for the couple.

TAKING THE PLUNGE: Michael Cook proposed to his partner Joy Barker at the Sea Life centre. Divers hold the message for the couple.

WEDDING proposals might typically involve sun, sand, or a candlelit dinner but one man decided to surprise his partner by popping the question surrounded by tropical sharks, sea turtles, and a school of colourful reef fish.

WEDDING proposals might typically involve sun, sand, or a candlelit dinner but one man decided to surprise his partner by popping the question surrounded by tropical sharks, sea turtles, and a school of colourful reef fish.

Michael Cook, 24, of Horn Hill, Lowestoft, took his sweetheart Joy Barker, 25, to the Yarmouth Sea Life Centre today for an aquatic adventure which, unbeknown to her, would end in an unorthodox marriage proposal.

The Yarmouth-based centre's underwater tunnel became a tunnel of love as a scuba diver in the aquarium held up a sign saying 'Joy Barker, will you complete me and become my wife and make me the happiest man alive, Joy will you marry me?'.

Fortunately for Mr Cook Joy accepted the unusual proposal which was accompanied by the couple's favourite song, Amazed by Lonestar, being played from the speakers.

Miss Barker, a probation worker from Beaconsfield Road, Lowestoft, said: “I was very embarrassed because there were lots of cameras and I was in shock - I am still shaking.

“It was the best way he could have proposed, I didn't suspect anything until we got into the tunnel and our song came on.”

Although the couple both went to the Sir John Leman High School in Beccles, the first time they met properly was a year ago when Mr Cook was asked by his sister to go and fix her friend Joy's computer, and they started dating soon afterwards.

Having spent two years working as a catering assistant at the Sea Life Centre, Mr Cook, who now manages an adult shop in Lowestoft was in no doubt about the ideal location for his proposal.

He said: “I wanted to do something a bit strange and unusual that no-one else would have done. I used to work there so that gave me the idea. As we arrived I felt really nervous and shaky and I wanted to die. My legs had turned to jelly and I couldn't walk properly.

“But it all went as planned and I am really relieved now. I can't think straight at the moment, I'm going crazy and I'm really happy. I love her to bits.

“I think we will have an unusual wedding as well. I will have to think of something good to beat this, but I don't know what yet.”

The couple plan to marry next summer although they have not yet chosen a location.

Daz Gook, senior marine biologist at the Sea Life Centre, said: “Joy was over the moon. We set it up so it looked like Michael had won tickets to the centre in a raffle.

“We had two divers in the main shark tank pretending to be doing some cleaning, and then the music came on and they held up a sign asking her to marry him.

“He has raised the bar for pretty much every bloke in the Yarmouth area - you would have to go to great lengths to top that. It certainly shows that romance isn't dead.”

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