A SCHOOL’S celebration assembly took an ‘unexpected’ twist when a firefighter proposed to his girlfriend on stage.

Paul Brown enlisted help from six of his colleagues and members of his new fiancée’s class to ask the most important question of his life.

Fire engine sirens were sounded outside the building before the stage curtains were pulled back to revealed a banner held by members of Kelly Wilkinson’s year four class at Avondale Primary School, Darwen.

Kelly, 36, who has been a special support assistant at the school for six years, said that she was ‘overwhelmed’ and that it came as a ‘complete shock’.

The couple, who live together in Earnsdale Road, have been together for 12 years and have two children.

Paul, who has been a firefighter for 20 years, had previously planned to pop the question nine years ago at the summit of Aiguille du Midi in Italy.

However, his plans, which included a champagne bottle and glasses stuffed into his rucksack, had to be put on hold after the cable car was closed for maintenance work.

The couple are now hoping to set a date soon.

Kelly, who is expecting another child in October, said: “I was overwhelmed with it all.

“It was a big shock but of course I said yes. I heard the sirens outside and I wondered what was going on and then the curtains on the stage were pulled back and there were members of my class holding the banner saying ‘will you marry me’.

“Then Paul walked in and got down on one knee.

“It was so exciting but he had to get back to work so we didn’t have much time to talk that evening.”

Paul, 47, said: “I wanted to do something that was memorable. It had been in the planning for some years and I’m glad it all went to plan.

“I was still on duty so I had my fingers crossed that there were no emergencies, otherwise it would have gone pear-shaped. Only a handful of people knew what was going to happen at the school so it was a big surprise for her.”