MOST men get down on one knee to propose to their girlfriend, but Mark Murphy decided to go the extra mile and drop 300ft down the side of the Spinnaker Tower.
He was abseiling off the tower to raise money for charity when he paused for a moment half way down as his friends revealed a banner below reading ‘Jenna Harms, love of my life, will you marry me?’
His stunned girlfriend below looked up in shock and shouted ‘yes’.
Mark, 31, who lives in Liverpool but works as a plater at BAE Systems in Portsmouth Naval Base, then rushed to the bottom to give Jenna a kiss.
He said: ‘The proposal went better than I expected. She looked really surprised.
‘We’d been talking about getting married for a while but she had no idea when or how I would do it.
‘As soon as I saw that you could abseil down the Spinnaker Tower I knew that would be a perfect way to do it because she’s from Portsmouth and the tower is the city’s biggest landmark.
‘It got a great reaction from her, I just can’t wait until we get married now.’
The couple met through a mutual friend just over six months ago and say it was love at first sight.
Jenna, 27, of Redwing Court, Milton, said: ‘I knew from the start that we were going to get married, we just hit it off straight away.
‘But I wasn’t expecting he would ever propose like that.
‘I thought our friends and family were here to support Mark with his abseil, I’m shocked they managed to keep it a secret for so long.
‘It makes it so much more special that they were all here to share the moment with me and the ring is exactly what I would’ve picked – it’s beautiful.’
The couple popped open a bottle of champagne to celebrate before heading off to a family barbecue.
Mark was one of 22 to take on the challenge of abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower yesterday in aid of the Hampshire Autistic Society and he raised £325 for the charity.
He added: ‘It was really down to our friends and family and everyone at work that I raised the money. I only had a week to get it, so I’m really chuffed I managed to get that much.’
All of the funds generated from the event will stay within Hampshire and help fund services provided by the charity for people with autism.
The Hampshire Autistic Society is currently working on a project to improve understanding of the disability within the workplace and teach employers how to support people with autism.
Kerry James, the charity’s fundraiser, said: ‘We hope to raise at least £4,000 from this event which will make a huge difference to us.
‘It will help us run our support services such as our school, family groups and training projects for emergency services.’ See has.org.uk for more about the society.