The day Mike Edwards passed out of Royal Navy training will forever be remembered as the day two of his dreams came true.
The 23-year-old shed nine stone in order to join the navy in the first place, and he marked the completion of his training by proposing to his girlfriend.
Engineering Technician Edwards surprised girlfriend Lucy Ambridge by proposing to her at the School of Naval Engineering at HMS Sultan, in Gosport, when he passed out as a marine engineer.
It marks a major milestone for the young sailor, who slimmed down from 21st 7lbs to a fit and healthy 12st 7lbs in order to join the senior service – fulfilling one dream.
And when he got down on bended knee in front of family, friends and colleagues he was hoping to make his second dream a reality by having Lucy agree to marry him.
ET Edwards said: ‘I threw her off the trail completely and when I went to ask her I could barely open my mouth.
I was blubbering, a real mess, and couldn’t get the words out. But her reaction said it all and now we are looking forward to the future together.Engineering Technician Mike Edwards
‘I got down on one knee and presented her with the ring.
‘I was blubbering, a real mess, and couldn’t get the words out.
‘But her reaction said it all and now we are looking forward to the future together.’
Lucy, a 23-year-old restaurant supervisor, added: ‘I had no idea what he was up to.
‘I was simply speechless when he showed me the ring but I knew what he meant and was incredibly happy.’
ET Edwards knew he wanted to join the armed forces from a young age but opted for a gap year before making any decisions – it was then that his weight ballooned.
At the age of 19 he was 21st when he submitted his Royal Navy application and so began his incredible weight loss regime in order to make that dream a reality.
By cutting out fast food and sticking to a strict fitness regime the pounds started falling and he was accepted for basic training.
‘Although I had some time between the different stages of the application, I realised that if I was going to fulfil my dream I was going to have do something drastic,’ added ET Edwards, pictured inset when he was 21st.
‘I joined a gym that was close to me and enrolled in some personal training sessions.
‘I used to go on an 8 mile trek downhill to a beach and back up afterwards.
‘When I first started I used to be able to run down half way and then stop to catch my breath. Gradually I got better until the day I got there and back without taking a rest.
‘Throughout my training everyone has been really encouraging and helped me achieve my results both physically and academically and having Lucy now agree to marry me is the icing on the cake.’
Having now passed out as a marine engineer Mike will shortly sail off on deployment in his first warship.
HMS Sultan in Gosport is home to the Royal Navy’s Defence School of Marine Engineering.