Watch Chesterfield Royal Hospital nurse’s surprise wedding proposal

Tony Clarke springs a romantic wedding proposal on Lena Plawecki.

Lena Plawecki, who is a sister in the A&E department, was working on Monday when she was asked by her matron to go outside in the rain to help her unlock a cupboard containing equipment.

There Lena was greeted by her partner Tony Clarke, dressed in a white uniform, just like Richard Gere in her favourite film An Officer And A Gentleman.

Tony got down on one knee, presented her with an engagement ring and asked her to marry him.

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Lena’s engagement ring

“I was in shock,” said Lena, “but Tony was shaking even more than me!”

The proposal came as a complete surprise, even though the couple had already booked their marriage for November 13.

Lena said: “Tony said that he had never proposed properly – and didn’t know whether he would have the guts to do this. He knew time was running out with the wedding in just over a week so he ordered a suit off the internet and went to collect flowers that morning.”

Lena’s sister, Annette Kelk, was in on the secret. As a volunteer at the hospital, she was able to brief the matron on the proposal.

Lena and Tony will tie the knot on November 13, 2021.

Tony, who is a builder, is not known for being romantic. Lena said: “In the early days, on Valentine’s Day he bought me a tape measure, another year he bought me a hammer – he said they are more practical than a bunch of flowers.”

The couple, who live on Main Road, Renishaw, made wedding plans last year amid the pandemic and on the back of negotiating a will when they were told it would be easier if they were married.

Lena said: “Caring for Covid patients daily, I realised that Covid could happen to anyone and we had nothing in place if it happened to us.”

The couple, who have both been married before and have four children between them, will tie the knot at Bakewell Register Office and celebrate with a family lunch at Piedaniels.

Tony will then whisk his new bride off on honeymoon to The Maldives. Lena said: “I think the honeymoon is his wedding present. That will be my next 20 years of romance!”