Jack Daniel’s helps to make it plain sailing for proposal

Clare Fountain and Michael Haycock with Jack Daniels assistant Master Distiller, Chris Fletcher (behind) at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, right after Michael proposed.

Clare Fountain and Michael Haycock with Jack Daniels assistant Master Distiller, Chris Fletcher (behind) at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, right after Michael proposed.

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FOR most people, winning the holiday of a lifetime would be enough.

But Michael Haycock took it one step further, and asked his girlfriend Clare Fountain to marry him while the pair were on a trip to visit the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

‘It had already been a fantastic day. I didn’t know Mike was walking around with the ring in his pocket all day.

Clare Fountain

‘We both love Jack Daniel’s,’ said Clare, of Laburnum Grove in North End, Portsmouth.

‘Believe it or not, it’s our drink. To win this competition in the first place blew our minds.’

The couple entered the competition after spotting it on a special bottle of the rocker’s favourite while doing their regular shop in Tesco – prizes ranged from mugs and packs of cards through to the holiday in Tennessee, USA, to see where it all began 150 years ago.

Clare, 31, entered straight away, but Mike, 27, took a bit of cajoling from his girlfriend to fill out the form – he left right until the deadline to enter.

And when they got a phone call to tell them they had won, they initially thought it was a wind-up.

The couple spent the first part of the holiday in Nashville, but it was on the day of the distillery tour that Mike decided to pop the question.

Clare said: ‘I had no idea it was coming. We’re quite a relaxed couple – we’ve been together three years but only moved in together about six months ago.

‘It had already been a fantastic day. It was an access all-areas tour and we were treated like stars. I didn’t know Mike was walking around with the ring in his pocket all day.’

At the end of the tour, they were taken to the famous Barbecue Hill, which overlooks the distillery.

As the pair relaxed with drinks in chairs that overlooked the hillside, Clare said: ‘He went a bit quiet, then he turned around and asked me to stand up, I thought: “What’s going on?”

‘Then he asked me to marry him. I said “yes”, everyone realised what was going on and the place went crazy.

‘I already knew that if he asked I’d say yes, but it was a total surprise. We were excited but everyone there was super-excited for us.’

Now they are back home Clare, who works at Queen Alexandra Hospital, and Mike, who is a welder, are planning to get married in 2018.

The whiskey giant has, naturally, offered to supply them with drinks for the big day.

‘Everyone knows it’s what we drink anyway, so for it to happen there and with those people was epic,’ Clare added.

‘There’s going to be a lot of Jack Daniel’s paraphernalia at the wedding.’

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