The ‘lock’ of love on Stonehaven bridge

The padlock is attached to the footbridge over the Cowie River in Stonehaven.
The padlock is attached to the footbridge over the Cowie River in Stonehaven.

An Aberdeen couple who have a special place in their heart for Stonehaven have become engaged, after a rather unusual proposal in the town.

Attaching a padlock to a bridge with initials etched on to them, before throwing the key to the waters below, has become a romantic symbol of commitment for many couples, with bridges such as the Pont des Arts in Paris becoming famed for having thousands of padlocks attached. And the phenomenon has reached the north-east of Scotland, as the Mearns Leader exclusively reported recently that padlocks have begun appearing on the Cowie footbridge in Stonehaven.

The happy couple: Andrew Dickinson (27) and Vikki O'Regan (28).

The happy couple: Andrew Dickinson (27) and Vikki O'Regan (28).

After noticing the intriguing padlock etched with the words ‘Vikki will you marry me?’ Leader reporter Rachel Campbell embarked on a social media campaign to find the couple, and eventually we tracked down Vikki O’Regan (28), from Aberdeen.

The search attracted plenty of attention on Facebook, where locals were delighted to watch the romantic story unfold.

Vikki O’Regan (28) and her boyfriend Andrew Dickinson (27), who have been together for just over a year, enjoyed their first date in Stonehaven, with an ice cream and a walk along the beachfront. They have since returned to the town whenever they have some free time. So it was fitting that, when Andrew decided to pop the question, he would do it in the town.

The couple had also discussed the idea of attaching a padlock to the bridge, and Andrew said that the idea came to him “like a lightbulb going on”, that he could combine the two ideas and they could have a permanent reminder of their love in a place special to them.

Andrew secretly removed the padlock from their cellar door, and engraved the words ‘Vikki, will you marry me?’ before heading to Stonehaven to attach the padlock on Friday August 1.

Two days later, he suggested a trip to the town for an ice cream and walk to recreate their first date.

Vikki said: “We got an ice cream and I was happily eating mine, then I noticed that Andrew wasn’t eating his and he was acting strange.

“He suggested we go for a walk, and we stopped to look at the padlocks, when he said that there was a new one and showed me.

“I was so shocked, I just said ‘are you being serious?’ but of course I said yes. We are delighted.” Vikki added that they have been completely taken by surprise by the level of interest in their story, and they have received messages of congratulations from many well-wishers.

Andrew had already been given approval from Vikki’s parents, and had enlisted the help of her sister and friends in preparing for the romantic proposal. The pair returned home where friends were waiting with champagne to toast the occasion. The couple plan to wed in June 2016.