Romance was in the air at Eastbourne’s International Airshow Airbourne with a special marriage proposal in front of hundreds of thousands of airshow fans.

Paul Neill, 36, took to the stage to propose to his girlfriend of eight years after travelling more than 1,000 miles at the last minute to secure her hand in marriage.

The airshow fan and keen sky diver, who until Friday was working on a yacht in Montenegro, proposed on stage and over a giant TV screen on Saturday shortly before the Red Arrows were due to take to the skies to display in front of thousands of fans.

Girlfriend Emma Cox, 34, from Eastbourne, delighted crowds with a 'yes' before embracing on the beach to a rapturous round of applause, with the happy moment relayed on the big screen.

The couple, who originally met while working on another yacht together eight years ago, see each other once or twice a month during the summer due to Paul’s job as Chief Officer on the private yacht.

Emma and her friends and family were due to watch the flying displays on the beach, including their two children Tia, 6, and Marco, 2, when Paul made the surprise return back to Eastbourne.

Paul said: “I chose Eastbourne because Emma is such an Airbourne fan, I thought it would be a great thing to do.

"We had a fantastic celebration afterwards at a local hotel and sat on the terrace with champagne watching the rest of the flying displays.

"It was important for us to celebrate with our friends and for Tia and Marco to be a real part of it too."

Emma said: "It was such a surprise, I wondered where Paul had gone and then he suddenly appeared on stage.

"It was such a special moment and it really hasn’t sunk in yet, we haven’t set a date yet, but Tia is so excited to be a flower girl."

The couple were able to enjoy a few more flying displays on Sunday with Tia and Marco before Paul returned to his job at sea in Montenegro.

The free four day airshow which began on Thursday has enjoyed record crowds with the Red Arrows every day, Britain’s first Lancaster bomber formation in 50 years and a new Airbourne Live stage on the beach featuring live bands and entertainment into the evening.

The annual show is due to close on Sunday evening with a spectacular twilight pyrotechnic and laser aerobatic display by O'Briens Flying Circus and a red, white, blue and gold themed fireworks display to celebrate the Red Arrows 50th anniversary.

Eastbourne International Airshow returns from 13 to 16 August 2015, for more information visit

  • High winds grounded planes at the Eastbourne Airbourne today.Thousands of people packed into the town at the weekend for the final two days of Airbourne. They enjoyed a wide range of dazzling displays and fly-pasts including show stopping stunts by the Red Arrows and an appearance by a Canberra bomber, the world's only 1950s aircraft with nuclear capabilities. The event went off without a hitch on Saturday but high winds and a poor forecast meant the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and displays by the Lynx and Raiders had to be called off today. However organisers said there were still plenty of displays and activities throughout the day and a planned concert and fireworks display was still due to go ahead tonight.