Santa Claus helped spring a romantic surprise when Thomas Giddings proposed to girlfriend Sarah Goodrum at Baytree Winter Wonderland.
Ambulance worker Thomas (23) had been planning the proposal for six months and waited until he could visit his favourite Santa grotto with Sarah and their baby son Caleb.
Elf John Birch said Thomas passed him a diamond ring in little box with a note that had the words “please read me out of sight”.
John said: “The box was then popped down the chimney in the Santa grotto and Santa gave it to Sarah. She opened it and as she opened it Thomas got down on one knee and asked Sarah to marry him.
“It made Santa cry. He got all tearful – I think the romance of it made him tearful.”
Thomas has visited the grotto at the Weston garden centre every year since he was two-years-old with the exception of last year when he was working away.
He wanted Sarah to see the grotto that’s so special for him and for it to Caleb’s first encounter with Santa.
Thomas went to great lengths to put Sarah off the scent, even explaining he wasn’t the marrying kind.
And that added to the big moment.
Thomas said: “She cried. It was a total surprise. She had no idea that I had been smuggling the ring around all day.”
Spalding man Thomas moved to the north east to work for the ambulance service and is about to register as a paramedic.
He met Sarah (30) two years ago in A&E, when taking a patient there, and says he found excuses to keep going back until they went on a first date ice skating.
They now live in Middlesborough with Caleb, five months, but Thomas says he hopes to return to Lincolnshire to work.
Thomas has a mum, Michelle, who lives in Spalding, but sadly his dad David has passed away.
Thomas said his dad left him some money in his will and he used it to buy the engagement ring, which features a central diamond with diamond shoulders on a platinum twist, and that adds even more to its sentimental value.
“He would have loved it,” said Thomas. “It’s what he wanted.”
Thomas said Baytree’s Santa is the only Santa he’s ever been to see and he wanted to share the magic.
He said: “It was Sarah’s first visit, which is why she got a ‘present’ to make up for all of the missed visits over the years, and it coincided with Caleb’s first visit.”
Baytree Winter Wonderland posted a picture of the family’s big moment on Facebook, offering congratulations and good wishes for the future, and there were lots more congratulations and good wishes as followers commented on the post.
Thomas said: “Everyone really liked it – everyone said it was a lovely idea.”
On Facebook, Thomas commented: “Thank you so much Santa for helping us make our first Christmas as a family so special! Sarah’s face as a surprise extra present fell down the chimney for her was amazing.”