As hundreds of new university students begin their lectures in Preston they may not realise it’s the love of their life they are sitting behind.Advertisement
For one former UCLan student it was a place he had always held dear to him and proved to be the perfect location he needed to propose to his girlfriend.
Tom Marshall-Bailey, 26, decided to cook up a story to convince his now fiancee Katie Dyson to come back to the city.
Working with his former course-mate Mark, the pair of them were able to gain access to the University of Central Lancashire’s Harrington building.
Tom, who now lives in Chester, said: “I met Katie just over eight years ago on UCLan’s three-day introductory session for new students, called Flying Start, which was designed to offer advice on moving away from home, managing finances and other issues to deal with while starting at university.
“In truth, it was an excuse to go and sample as many of the local pubs and bars as possible and resulted in the mother of all hangovers for the time management lecture in particular.
“I decided it was a good idea to roll an empty Dr Pepper bottle from side to side between my hands on a row in the Harrington Lecture Theatre, only for it to fall off and hit the girl in front of me in the back of head.
“She seemed slightly nervous as she returned it to me but laughed it off all the same.
“Suffice to say, I didn’t learn my lesson. The bottle fell down onto her once more and she returned it once more, but looked slightly more freaked out on this occasion.
“It proved to be the perfect excuse to go and speak to her at the Student Union bar Source that night before we all went our separate ways to learn our A levels fate.
“We exchanged numbers and were in regular communication before moving to Uni for good, where remarkably our halls of residence were separated by just a wall.”
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The couple got together during their studies and since then have forged careers in the media and in the legal profession.
Tom decided coming back to Preston would be the perfect way to propose and with the help of Mark he had a perfect foil during their trip on Sunday 9 September. Mark turned DJ and cameraman to help capture the proposal and ensure the mood was right with some romantic tunes.
Watch the moment Tom proposed below:
Tom said: “It was difficult tempting her to Preston for what was effectively just a day out with our friends and the drive up the M6 from Chester was a slightly awkward one.
“When we got to Mark and his fiancee Frankie’s house, he had sneaked out to go and set things up at the lecture theatre, where I had set up a video to be played when she came in.
“I’m delighted to say she said yes to the proposal and everything went swimmingly with no hitches whatsoever – the eternal pessimist in me was convinced there would be.
“The two of us pretty much became adults while we lived in Preston, so it was fitting that we should get engaged there after eight years of being together.”
Tom said UCLan had been incredibly helpful in getting the building to be opened up on a Sunday and ensuring he could pop the question.
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And will there be another return to Preston?
Tom said: “I’m hoping they will let us use the Students’ Union bar for the after-party once we have tied the knot!”