Carnival halted for marriage proposal

PUBLISHED: 08:27 25 September 2013 | UPDATED: 08:27 25 September 2013

Farmer Chris Tratt who proposed to his girlfriend Katherine Akerman in front of hundreds of spectators at Axminster carnival procession. Photo by Chris Carson

Farmer Chris Tratt who proposed to his girlfriend Katherine Akerman in front of hundreds of spectators at Axminster carnival procession. Photo by Chris Carson

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Axminster crowds cheer as farmer Chris Tratt asks girfriend Katherine Akerman to be his bride

The course of true love brought Axminster carnival procession to an unexpected halt on Saturday night.

Hundreds of spectators watched in surprise as farmer Chris Tratt stopped the winning float in the middle of town to call his girlfriend from the crowd – and ask for her hand in marriage.

Dressed as a nurse for his Nunsford Nutters comical “health service” tableau he went down on bended knee to make his proposal over the loudspeaker system.

To his relief vet Katherine Akerman, 26, from Somerset, said “yes” and accepted the engagement ring before the cheering crowds in Trinity Square.

“I had no idea what he had planned to do,” she told The Herald this week. “It was a total shock.

“I have never been to Axminster carnival before but he told me I had to come this time or he would be very disappointed. My friend Rachael Collins made sure I was in The Square when he arrived, because I later found out that she was in on the secret.

“I was standing there with her, totally oblivious, when he suddenly got off the float. After he proposed he said ‘do you have anything to say?’ and I said ‘yes’ and the crowds cheered.

Chris, 31, of Wadsworth Farm, near Hawkchurch, said it was something he had planned for some time.

“I got the ring a week ago and then I arranged to have the microphone on the float available for me to use as we reached the square,” he said.

“I got off as we arrived and told the crowd I wanted their attention and then asked if Katherine was there. At first she was a bit reluctant to come out but was pushed forward by her friend who I had arranged to get her there on time. She came out and I went down on one knee and proposed to her and said some nice stuff and then she said ‘yes’, very quietly.

Chris, a former member of Axminster Young Farmers Club, and his fiancé plan to wed some time next summer – probably in front of a slightly smaller crowd.

Despite the delay in finishing the circuit his float - Nutters Health Service - won the best in procession award for the Colyton-based carnival club.

Carnival committee spokesman Geoff Enticott said their tableau was second from last so stopping for the proposal did not mean too much of a hold up. And the crowds loved it.


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