A large dollop of surprise, a sprinkling of originality, and a splash of romance, eh voila you have the ingredients for a humdinger of a marriage proposal. The engagement of a Mr Shaun Hasson and a Ms Yvonne McDaid from Londonderry ticks all the boxes. And yet, it was Ms McDaid who unwittingly set it all in train, after she bought her boyfriend a flying lesson with Eglinton Flying Club as a Christmas present. Little did she know that her boyfriend would use the opportunity to plan an elaborate proposal. It was very much a team effort which included friends and family, pilot Eugene McShane, the local flying club, and City of Derry Airport. Firstly, Mr Hasson’s parents wrote “Will You Marry Me?” in 12ft long letters on Lisfannon beach; then when mum and dad had completed their task, Air Traffic Controllers radioed the codeword “Geronimo”; that was the signal for pilot McShane to take over the controls mid-lesson so that Mr Hasson could calm his nerves and get ready with the ring. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Hasson picks up the story: ‘As we flew close to the beach I couldn’t see anything. Then we came past a bit lower and I was ready with the ring: “can you see the beach I asked?” I looked at her and she couldn’t believe it. She just said: “You’re dead.” That’s Derry code for yes’. Job done. Not quite. It turns out the couple, who have been dating for nearly four years, are also expecting a baby. Talk about a flying start.