A NATURE photographer turned detective to track down a romantic couple he accidentally caught on camera during an intimate proposal in the woods.
Gary Clark had gone to his favourite woodland to take snaps of bluebells but stumbled across Nicholas Luker, 30, popping the question to Rebecca Ayling, 27.
Nicholas had spent seven months planning how he would propose and decided to choose the bluebell field in Cleeve, Somerset.
His friends hung bunting and photographs, which were stretched between trees.
But as he popped the question Gary, 53, who was taking pictures of flowers, captured the proposal on camera.
He didn’t want to disturb their romantic moment so went home but then took to Facebook to try and find them.
He posted the picture online and Rebecca and Nicholas got in touch.
The teachers, who met at the secondary school where they work, have been together for nearly three years and had discussed marriage after attending friends’ weddings.
But Rebecca had no idea what her boyfriend was planning, when Nicholas told her they were going to his parents for Sunday lunch.
Rebecca said: ‘I had an idea that something might be up that morning, because Nick was acting oddly. I think he was very nervous.’
Under the guise of going for a walk to build up an appetite for lunch, Nick took her up to the bluebell wood.
The strings of photographs caught Rebecca’s eye and she went over to look, quickly recognising the pictures as holiday snaps from trips the couple had made.
She then noticed that the bunting spelled out ‘Will you marry me Rebecca Jane Ayling?’
‘I said yes before Nick had even got down on one knee,’ she said. ‘When I went to look closer, I realised that the pictures were me and Nick in various locations.
‘They were pictures of us all over the world. At that point I realised what was coming.
‘Beneath the bunting was a box that said “Nick and Becca 2018” and inside was a bottle of champagne, chocolates and bridal magazines.’
Thoughtful Nick had taken inspiration from Pixar film Up and compiled an ‘adventure book’ chronicling their travels together.
And two coffee mugs were branded with the motto ‘the future Mrs Luker’.
Rebecca added: ‘He gave me a ring, I don’t know how much it cost but it is very sparkly.
‘He had put a lot of thought and effort into it.’
Unknown to the couple, amateur photographer Gary Clark had snapped away as they embraced and Rebecca said she would always be grateful that their moment was preserved.
‘Gary sent us the pictures, it’s lovely that it was preserved forever,’ she said.
Explaining his actions, amateur photographer Gary said: ‘You can only see the bluebells a couple of weeks a year.
‘It just looked so romantic, I thought I’d try and get a shot but they looked to be enjoying themselves so much I didn’t want to disturb them.
‘I was just trying to get a special photo to the couple. I thought I’d see what I could do with the power of Facebook.
‘I am really pleased that they were happy.’
The couple plan to marry in July 2019.