IT may have appeared as if theatre stars had taken their show on to the streets as dancers stunned shoppers with an all-singing, all-dancing routine.
But as Richard Claxton got down on one knee in the Omni Centre on Saturday, the crowds realised the five-minute flashmob was in fact an elaborate marriage proposal for his girlfriend Nicola Grenfell. The 37-year-old engineered the spectacle to surprise Nicola as they went to see her favourite show, Dirty Dancing, at the Playhouse next door.
More than 150 stunned shoppers crowded round to watch as eight dancers from The Scottish Rockettes – who had been mingling in the crowds – suddenly sprang to life to enact a five-minute dance routine to a medley of tunes from the musical.
Brave boyfriend Richard then strutted his stuff before dropping on to one knee to propose as a banner dropped from the balcony which read ‘Will you marry me Nicola?’.
His 33-year-old partner burst into tears before saying “yes” and running into his arms.
The Romeo chose the spot for his proposal as it was the scene of their first date two years ago.
“It was brilliant. She was totally stunned and didn’t expect a thing,” said Richard.
“I had this idea of proposing at the show but then one day I saw all these flashmobs online and it seemed like a good idea.
“I called up The Rockettes to ask what they thought and they said they definitely thought I should go for it.”
He first met the cheerleaders nearly ten years ago, when he coached them in his role as a fitness instructor in the gym where he first met Nicola.
It was brilliant. She was totally stunned and didn’t expect a thing.Richard Claxton
He said: “I took her to Harvey Nichols beforehand to get her nails done and the idea was we would walk through and I would pretend I didn’t know what it was.
“I joked to her that I should go and join in and she said ‘No you won’t!’.
“So I took my jacket off and went to join them.”
Richard started planning his proposal in December and has been working secretly with The Rockettes to perfect the routine for the last two months.
He said: “I was really nervous watching it as I knew I’d have to take part for a minute right at the end of the dance.
“I ended up messing up my routine as I looked and saw her face, which was an absolute picture.
“She was stunned and then when I got down on one knee she couldn’t stop crying.”
Both their families and close friends were tucked away on the balcony above the spectacle waiting to surprise Nicola when the banner came down. Richard said: “I told some friends who told their friends and before I knew it lots of people had come along to watch.
“Even the cast came out to watch. It was amazing.”
Stars invited the newly engaged pair backstage after the show, where they were treated to champagne and chocolates, as well as getting to meet the cast.
The couple, who live in Hamilton, are hoping to tie the knot in Las Vegas, where they enjoyed the holiday of a lifetime last year.