Romantic Sheffield boyfriend swoops to propose '“ with an owl's help

Most brides-to-be would like to receive a magical proposal '“ but they don't come more special than Laura Wattam's.

Tuesday, 9th February 2016, 05:59 am
Updated Monday, 8th February 2016, 14:04 pm
Pete Tingle and his fiancee Laura Wattam with the great grey owl who delivered her engagement ring

The Harry Potter superfan had her ring delivered to her by an owl after her loving boyfriend Pete Tingle arranged the spectacle with staff at the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre, North Anston.

The couple, who have been together for three and a half years, have just moved in to a new house together in Beaucheif, Sheffield.

Pete Tingle with the great grey owl who delivered his fiancee's engagement ring

Pete, aged 36, said: “I was looking for a way to ask Laura to marry me and it was while I watching a David Attenborough documentary I had the idea.

“I have been a visitor to the butterfly house since it opened as I have loved birds and nature since I was a young boy, and I knew that they had a great grey owl and an eagle.

“The staff at the butterfly house were amazing and thought it was a great idea.

“They talked me through what was possible and we decided to do it during their falconry display with Isaac, the great grey owl.”

Harry Potter with an owl

When the day finally arrived, everything went like clockwork and 34-year-old Laura happily accepted Pete’s proposal.

“I went over on the Saturday to give them the ring and to see the display so I could have an understanding of when it was going to happen,” said Pete.

“On the Monday we went to the butterfly house, with the butterflies in my stomach getting giddy.

“We watched the falconry show and at the end Isaac appeared with the purple bag, as we had arranged.

Pete Tingle with the great grey owl who delivered his fiancee's engagement ring

“With my heart pumping, he entered the arena and made a perfect landing. The trainer then got him to fly to a perch over our heads where he and attempted to land on a signpost, which he failed at, making a crash landing on the path outside of the centre.

“All was well though, and after another keeper rescued him he flew back over safely. They then asked for a volunteer and this was my que to put my hand up, rather nervously.

“I went to the front and Isaac made a text book landing on my left arm, I removed the purple bag and got down on one knew and popped the question. Then it just hit me and I felt quite wobbly.

“It came as a big surprise to Laura, how I managed to keep it quiet I do not know.

Harry Potter with an owl

“I’m so happy with the staff at the butterfly house, they were amazing, as is my fiancé.”

Isaac has since been introduced to a female great grey owl named Betty,and the wildlife centre is now hoping that love will blossom between them too.

Centre manager Andrew Reeve said: “The proposal really captured the imagination of visitors and staff, who were excited to be involved.

“People in the audience were crying, it was a very emotional moment.

“There’s always that element of unpredictability with animals but, luckily, it all went to plan and Laura said yes.

“Great grey owls have been used in Harry Potter films in the past and as she’s a huge fan we hope this made it special for her.”