Graham Bainbridge was eager for marriage to follow after seven years with Miss Wright.
The big question was how and where to make the proposal.
On no fewer than three occasions, circumstances had intervened before Graham could ask girlfriend Karen Wright to become Mrs Bainbridge, but a trip to London to celebrate Graham’s 60th birthday offered the ideal solution – a surprise proposal on the House of Commons terrace.
Graham contacted Fylde MP Mark Menzies to organise a tour of Parliament – and asked the MP to keep it under wraps that he intended to propose to Karen.
Retired police officer Graham, a lifelong fan of Blackpool FC and the band Simple Minds – who he has seen live no fewer than 137 times – had previously planned to propose at a Pool home game or in the presence of Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr, but despite going close to making the arrangements on three occasions, the opportunity never arose.
“I really wanted to make it special and when we were going to London, I thought the Houses of Parliament would be the ideal setting,” said Graham. “Mark was so helpful and he arranged for us to go out onto the terrace where I’m delighted to say Karen said ‘yes’.”
Karen, 49, who works as a legal secretary in Lytham, said: “I was totally gobsmacked when he asked me, but I was delighted to say ‘yes’ – and what a wonderfully-romantic setting.”
The couple, who live in Clifton Street, Lytham, have not yet set a date for the wedding.
Mr Menzies said: “We regularly give tours of the Parliamentary estate to constituents, but this is the first time we have been asked to organise a marriage proposal.
“We were able to identify a nice spot on the House of Commons terrace along-side the River Thames where Graham could carry out his plan.
“It was really thrilling when everything went according to plan and she said ‘yes’ and I wish them all the very best for the rest of their lives together.”