Full steam a-wed

A RAIL enthusiast enjoyed the opportunity to board a steam train – and got quite a surprise as his romantic partner marked the leap day tradition.

Neil Kennedy, 46, was enjoying a surprise visit to Alresford railway station, on the Watercress Line, in Hampshire, thanks to his loving partner Fiona Boubert.

But he soon got the shock of his life when Fiona went down on one knee and popped the question yesterday.

Little did Neil know that Fiona, 45, a civil servant, had actually won a competition ran by romance publishers Mills and Boon to create the perfect romantic moment.

She said trains had played an important part in their relationship so thought it fitting to pop the question aboard a steam train, named The Tornado, on February 29, a date that only comes round once every four years.

The couple had their first kiss at a railway station and Neil, who used to live in Hartlepool before he joined Fiona in Edinburgh, made regular train journeys to Scotland.

Neil, who works for thetrainline.com, said: “It felt different, very very surprising, I had absolutely no problem with saying yes.

“I’m not one for knowing what date it is so it was only after I had been asked that it dawned on me what the date was, it was a complete shock.”

Fiona added: “It went very well, he said yes but I was fairly certain he would, he more than delivered on his answer.

“I do believe in gentlemen doing certain things but us ladies only get a chance every four years so I thought why not.

“Obviously I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him, but I was aware it was the 29th coming up and thought I would just do it.

Fiona only entered the competition last week so had to tell a couple of little white lies but was delighted it all worked out.

She added: “I told Neil he has to plan an even bigger surprise for the wedding, something spectacular.”