CROWDS at the Great Yorkshire Show were treated to a surprising end to one of the performances when a stunt rider proposed to his assistant.
Ben Atkinson of Atkinson Action Horses closed his show in the Main Ring, closed his show with a very special question to girlfriend Georgina Jackson as the crowd erupted in applause.
Georgina, a 22-year-old dressage instructor, had been supporting Ben in his team performance for the very first time, when he went down on one knee.
“I didn’t have a clue,” said Georgina, from Claxton. “He asked if I’d ride in the show for the first time ever – he only taught me how on Monday night. Then this. It’s completely out of the blue.”
Ben, a stunt rider with the Atkinson family famed for riding and providing horses in shows from Peaky Blinders to Poldark and Wuthering Heights, has been performing since the age of 11.
He had been secretly planning the proposal for two months, having already asked Georgina’s father for her hand in marriage, and enlisting her mother’s help in choosing the ring.
“I love it,” said Georgina, as she examined the sparkling sapphire on white gold ring, set within two squared diamonds. “I can’t believe it fits – I can’t believe they’ve all kept it a secret.”
Ben, aged 27 and from Eastrington near Hull, said he had planned the proposal down to every tiny detail, drawing Georgina into the ring as she supported him in his act.
“I wanted to do it as properly as I could,” he said. “We’ve talked in the past about whether she’d like a public proposal, and what a good place to start.”
“No show can ever be that stressful ever again,” he added.
Georgina’s mother, Linda, said: “They met in November last year whilst training Iue and Mary Pritchard’s Dressage horses, they have been inseparable since then.
Ben chose to propose in the main arena during his famous display with his Liberty horses.
“His proposal was a complete surprise to Georgina and she was moved to tears. They really are very much in love and incredibly happy.”