Singer Pops the Question at Lights Switch-On
The start of the Christmas season is always a magical time – but for one Norwich couple the Christmas lights switch-on at Castle Mall had an extra sprinkling of stardust.
Singer Simon Kindleysides invited girlfriend Hannah Young on stage to thank her for giving up her job to become his full-time carer, but shocked the 1,000-plus crowd as he popped the question.
The very public proposal drew gasps from the packed Castle Mall – and from Miss Young – before she said yes.
The 29-year-old was diagnosed in April with a brain condition which means he may never walk again and has left him in a wheelchair, just three months after getting together with Miss Young, 20.
But the couple’s ordeal has galvanised their relationship, and Mr Kindleysides said the time had come for them to take the next step on their “magical journey”.
“Hannah gave up her job to become my full-time carer, and I would be lost without her,” he said.
“We have been to hell and back, and for her to want to be there for it all has been priceless.
“I wanted to find a way to repay her, and to say thank you.”
Mr Kindleysides, a former member of vocal group NR3, had initially asked Castle Mall bosses just for the chance to propose, but after seeing online videos of him singing, they invited him to perform ahead of his very public proposal.
He bought the dream engagement ring Miss Young had picked out, and sought permission from her father, before inviting them all to be there on the night – all without his girlfriend suspecting a thing.
She said: “I can’t believe that he managed to organise everything. I had no idea that’s what he was going to do.
“We’d talked about getting married, but didn’t expect it to be this year.”
And despite her shock, she said she had faith in her future husband to pick the right moment.
“I trusted him to get it right,” she said. “I think he pulled it off.”
Mr Kindleysides, whose condition causes him constant pain, said that Miss Young has been there to carry out daily tasks like washing and dressing him at the home they share in Cotman Fields, off Bishopgate, and helping with his two children, Anya, nine, and Corin, two.
“I have the best family, but I can’t show them when I’ve had a bad day. I can only cry on my own or with Hannah,” he said.
“But I don’t want her life to stop just because mine has. Everything has changed. I’ve lost all my confidence since being in the chair.
“I love Hannah and my children, but singing is my all. When I’m singing I forget about the pain and the trauma I’ve been through.”
He added: “The way I look at it, it was meant to be. After everything we have been through, she wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t meant to be.”