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Stafford man gains fiancee as well as degree at Staffordshire University graduation day

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 17, 2014

  • Alun Thomas and Annie Rowe. Pictures by Horace Wetton

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A STAFFORD man will remember his graduation day for more than just a degree after asking his girlfriend to become his wife – in front of 300 people.

Alun Thomas, 22, popped the question to fellow graduate Annie Rowe just after he received his degree in forensic science yesterday.

Annie, who graduates today with a degree in law, was stunned when Alun, still clad in cap and gown, dropped to one knee and produced a ring. But she quickly answered yes, to the delight of the crowd.

The 25-year-old said: “After Alun's graduation ceremony, we went outside where his faculty was going to have a group photograph.

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"One of his lecturers called him forward. I thought he was going to thank them or receive an award and I got the camera out ready to take a picture. Then he called me up and Alun got down on one knee. It felt really unreal. I said 'yes' and everyone cheered.

"Alun is just unique. We just get on together so well."

The pair live together in Stafford and met during their first year at university while out at Walkabout in Hanley. Love blossomed as they chatted to each other later that night at Aruba.

Alun: said: "I've had the ring for three months but was waiting for the perfect moment.

"I put it into my pocket in case I saw an opportunity. Then shorty before we were supposed to have a big photograph taken I spoke to my lecturer and told her what I was planning to do.

"Those 20 minutes after making my mind up were the most nerve-racking of my life.

"You can never be 100 per cent certain, but I thought she would say yes. We just go together so well.

"We are complete opposites, yet in many ways we are the same. We bring each other's interests out, sometimes interests we didn't realise we had.

"We can have an intellectual conversation and a heated discussion about all sorts of different topics.

"It's a cliche, but when we first met, our eyes really did meet across a crowded room."

Alun has already lined up a job as a guard at Dovegate Prison, but he plans to return to university to study for a PHD in forensic science.

Meanwhile, Annie has started work in legal services for Staffordshire County Council.

University lecturer Laura Walton-Williams, award leader for forensic investigation, was delighted to play a role in the proposal.

Laura, who has also been Alun's personal tutor for two years, said: "I was shaking with excitement when Alun told me what he wanted to do.

"It was really nice. All the other students went up to congratulate them. It was lovely Alun chose graduation day to propose."

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