IT’S that time of year again where couples celebrate their love with grand gestures, or just a note to remind them how much they are loved.
But Alan Durnin wanted to celebrate in style by taking his wife on a romantic trip away, and did just that when he won The News Valentine’s Day competition.
The prize, in association with Wave 105 and Brittany Ferries, included a mini-cruise worth £170 to the French city of St Malo, with an ensuite cabin, dinner on board, and a Valentine’s party hosted by Wave 105’s Steve Power.
Alan said: ‘I was absolutely stunned and so was Nicky. I forgot to tell her I’d entered! I thought I didn’t have a chance.
‘We didn’t stop grinning until we stepped off the boat yesterday. We had such a great time.’
The couple spent a lot of time walking around the city, and Alan adds ‘finding shops and buying amazing souvenirs.’
The 47-year-old lorry driver married Nicky, a 51-year old care assistant, on Valentine’s Day in 2009 at Portsmouth Register Office. They met after chatting on online dating site, girlsdateforfree.com in 2007. It was only weeks later that they decided to meet up.
Alan said: ‘It was just a meal between friends nothing more. But then we were still in there hours later laughing with each other.’
After a couple of months Alan moved away from his family and friends in Oxford to be with Nicky in Cosham. Six months later in June 2008 he proposed.
He added: ‘We just enjoyed each others company so much that we were constantly texting. I was coming down once a week on my days off.
‘I was making my life full, and I literally didn’t have a minute to myself, so it came about naturally to move down.’
‘I’d seen an opal ring, and I showed it to Nicky. I said how would you like it to be an engagement ring. I suppose it was my roundabout way of asking.’
Alan, who has three children from a previous marriage in Oxford, won the competition after submitting an entry talking about how beautiful Nicky looked on their wedding day, and how he believes he’s the luckiest man alive.
He said: ‘I buy her flowers every week, I leave notes around the house, and I leave a cup for tea everyday for her before she goes to work.
‘I guess it’s romantic, but I never thought I’d win!’