Karen Scarlett from Torrington thought she was going to see The Stylistics in Barnstaple – but the night held more surprises in store

Nigel and Karen at the theatre after the proposal.Nigel and Karen at the theatre after the proposal.

A soul fan was overwhelmed when her partner got down on bended knee at the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple on Friday.

Karen Scarlett and Nigel Hughes, both 55, had gone to the theatre to see The Stylistics, but she had no idea her partner of six years was about to pop the question.

With the connivance of Parkwood Theatre staff, who supplied a bottle of bubbly and roses for the big moment, Nigel went on bended knee before the show – and she said yes.

Amazingly, the Torrington couple were at school together at the then Pilton Secondary School, before going their separate ways and not speaking again for another 34 years.

Then out of the blue Nigel contacted her on Facebook, they met a month later and in Karen’s words ‘have been inseparable ever since’.

They have both been married before and have grown up children - Karen has three sons and Nigel has a daughter and a son.

The moment Nigel Hughes proposed to Karen Scarlett at The Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple.The moment Nigel Hughes proposed to Karen Scarlett at The Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple.

Karen said Nigel had arranged for them to stay at The Fortescue Hotel in Barnstaple on the night of the concert, but she hadn’t expected a proposal.

She said: “I had absolutely no idea, I was completely amazed and just overwhelmed.

“We are just so grateful to the theatre for organising it, supplying the bubbly and roses, it was just so thoughtful, I could not get over it.

“After the Stylistics we went to Wetherspoons and there were friends and family waiting – they all knew and I didn’t.”

It is thought to be the first proposal at the theatre for several years.

Theatre front of house manager Kay Trimm added: “Nigel had contacted the theatre to see if it would be possible to propose to Karen before their favourite song Betcha By Golly Wow.

“We did speak to the promoter but understandably this couldn’t be done during the show and we were all so touched by the sentiment in Nigel’s request that we decided we wanted to help in some way.”

Karen said The Stylistics had shaken everyone’s hands afterwards and wished them both well.

Karen served in the Royal Air Force in communications and is a holistic therapist by trade and is currently working as a personal assistant. Nigel is a sales representative at Tamar Trading.

They have not set a date yet. Karen said: “It might be a couple of years down the line, we are just taking things really steadily.

“We are just enjoying one another and being together and knowing that is something else on the horizon to look forward to.”