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Preston Nurse Surprised By Marriage Proposal During 130-Mile Charity Walk

Written by John Nicoll

A nurse who walked 130 miles for a sight loss charity to celebrate her 60th birthday describes the heart-warming moment her fiancé proposed to her.

Ruth Byrne, who works at the ophthalmology department at Royal Preston Hospital, asked her partner of five years, Dennis Gaspar, to join her as she walked around the Anglesey coastal path to raise funds for Galloway’s.

Little did she know that partway through the challenge, which was spread over 11 days, Dennis, 60, would pop the question on her birthday:

“It was a total surprise. Dennis had written the words ‘will you marry me?’ in my birthday card which I opened before we set off on our walk for that day.

“It made it more special doing it whilst we were completing the challenge in Anglesey. Dennis is my soulmate and love of my life. Our news got a lot of likes and support on Facebook when we shared it.

“A lot of people have really enjoyed my adventures during the walking challenge as I posted photos and updates, so it was nice to share our special news with them.”

Working with eye patients meant Ruth knows all too well the difficulties people with sight loss face, so Galloway’s was the obvious choice for her birthday fundraiser.:

“As it was my 60th birthday, I thought giving was better than receiving. I wanted to support a local charity and having seen some of the amazing work from the Galloway’s Eye Clinic Liaison Officer at hospital, I wanted to help them continue to support blind and partially sighted people.

“I enjoy walking and I had a hip replacement last year so I wanted to test my fitness. The walk took us 11 days and we stayed in a cottage. We had to split the challenge in two as we both work at the hospital and had to work some shifts.

“We walked an average of 12 miles a day. It was a poor month weather- wise, but when you are out all day you see the best and the worst as we had storms, gales and sunshine.”

Ruth raised £585 for Galloway’s, she was overwhelmed seeing the donations go up:

“I only put a target of £50 on my Facebook page so I was surprised when the total kept going up. I am really pleased with how much I raised as I wasn’t expecting it. Everybody has been so generous.”