Romantic gesture at the end of 5,000km fund-raising cycle ride across South East Asia

A romantic proposal, written in the sand on an idyllic island, is the culmination of an epic 5,000km cycle ride across South East Asia for Poulton couple Chris O'Hare and Gabriella Gratrix.

Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 12:00 pm
Chris spells out his intentions to Gabriella on the beach
Chris spells out his intentions to Gabriella on the beach

With his message spelt out in shells, saving the finest for a ring, Chris popped the question to Gabriella after making a terrifying kayak journey to Bamboo Island off the coast of Phi Phi Don, Thailand, on Sunday.

When the weather turned bad, and seas rose, they fought against the waves to make it to the island.

Chris, a property developer, said: “We paddled our kayak over to Bamboo Island in the rough sea, we had to make it there before the big storm got us!

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“I had something very important to do on the island...

“An hour later we had almost made it to the shore when suddenly we’re thrown from the boat on to the beach by the waves, luckily with only a few cuts and grazes.

“It was worth it! Over the last two years and our epic cycling adventure here inSouth East Asia, it has confirmed that I love Gabriella with all my heart and understand that she will follow me anywhere in the world and always be there for me no matter what, no matter how tough things get.

“We should not have been out in a boat due to the weather, but I wanted to kayak the five miles to Bamboo Island again one last time, and yes it was taking a big risk, but isn’t that what life is about? My life motto is: Risk and reward, and today, I got my reward. The best ever!”

Chris was at a low point in his life after the breakdown of his marriage when, two years ago, he embarked on organising Wheelers for Watamu, a 150-mile group Coast to Coast in a day bike ride to raise money for Children of Watamu Happy House Children’s Home in Kenya.

Chris was out training when he was stopped in his tracks by cycling enthusiast Gabriella. “We had both gone to meet up with a lot of others to go for a long ride, got talking about the Coast to Coast and it started from there. We have been together ever since,” said Gabriella.

“How could I say no to such an amazing proposal?”

Chris added: “I never imagined I’d meet such a wonderful woman and be having thousands of so much fun!

Costume maker, Gabriella, said: “Chris and I get on so well, and are bothpassionate about cycling. We are a great match.”

They set off their mammoth cycle tour of South East Asia at the end of March, with nothing more than their bikes (in disposable carriers), a tent and a few clothes.