Jamie Forde used his love of aviation to plan and pull off the ultimate beach proposal from the skies and a once-in-a-lifetime romantic gesture.
The 26-year-old booked a flight for himself and Anna Pond, his now fiancé, from Glasgow to Barra.
Little did she know there was something waiting for her on the beach as they approached the island.
A fan of aviation, Mr Forde had heard of the unique flight over to Barra where the plane lands on the beach.
“I’m a bit of an aviation geek,” he said. “That’s how I’d heard of Barra Airport. We love Scotland as well so I thought I’d book us flights and a little trip to Barra.”
Popping the question
Mr Forde was in contact with Barra Airport on the morning of the flight making sure everything was ready to go.
Once the plane neared the beach, he told Miss Pond, 25, to look out of the window.
Mr Forde said: “She was quite shocked, that was definitely the initial reaction. She then said ‘yes’ which is fantastic.
“Initially she kind of just looked at me like a deer in headlights but once she realised what it was, she’s quite shy so went bright red.
“She loved it, by the time we were on the ground and it had sunk in a bit it was great.”
Keeping the secret
Keeping the proposal a secret from his then girlfriend was less difficult than you might think.
Mr Forde said: “On the morning of the flight I had to ring the airport and let them know which side of the aircraft we’d be sat on. They then had to get in touch with the pilot and ask if they’d do an extra fly over. I pretended I was on the phone to the taxi in Barra.”
“She knows I’m a plane geek and we do go on little short trips when we can so she didn’t really question it when I booked this. She probably thought it was just going to be a normal little break. It was actually quite easy to keep it a secret to be fair.”
‘That wouldn’t have happened anywhere else’
“I literally just thought if they’ll get in on it it wouldn’t be that difficult for someone to write that and for us to fly over.” he said. “It involves a plane, it involves this view of the beautiful island of Barra, it’s something a bit different.
“I want to say a thank you to the people of Barra, to Loganair and to Barra Airport. Loads of people put a lot of effort in, they basically did it all for me. They nailed it.”
The couple, from West Yorkshire, were overwhelmed by the generosity they were shown following the proposal, and news spread around the island fast.
Mr Forde said: “The taxi from the airport didn’t take money from us, we got a takeaway pizza that night and not only did they give us all this free pizza, they also got us a bottle of champagne. The taxi driver picked us up another time and also brought us champagne, the post office gave us free cakes and scones and things.
“That wouldn’t have happened anywhere else, it was just this magical little island.”
The couple are hoping to get married in the next two years, but don’t want to plan too far ahead given the current pandemic.
Mr Forde said: “With just coming out of Covid we don’t really know how it’s going to be. We want to be married within two years but I don’t even know if that’s a bit optimistic. We’re just going to keep saving and hopefully we can get a date for two year’s time.”
An aviation theme might not be as prominent in the wedding as it was in the proposal, though not by Mr Forde’s choice.
He said: “Anna absolutely says no. The good thing with the proposal is she doesn’t have a say in that, that was fine for it to be an aviation theme but for the wedding I don’t think she’s going to go for it.”
Though many have asked if the wedding will take place on Barra, the couple have decided that, even though they loved it, it’s a little too far from their West Yorkshire home.
‘It feels absolutely perfect’
Though the couple have only officially been together for two years, their fairytale began a long time ago.
Mr Forde and Miss Pond have known each other their whole lives.
“My mum’s house where I grew up and Anna’s house where she grew up are literally semi-detached houses,” Mr Forde said. “That’s how we met but we’ve actually only been going out officially two years today but we have known each other a long time.”
“All of a sudden here we are, we’ve bought our first house a couple of months ago and we’re getting married, it feels absolutely perfect.”