FOR one bingo-loving couple from Swindon, the evening turned out to be just tickety boo (number 62).

Steve Heath had been in a right two and eight (state) before he dropped to one knee and asked his girlfriend Ellen Copnell to marry him at his favourite bingo hall.

The 48-year-old interrupted calls of legs 11 and two fat ladies to propose to his girlfriend Ellen Copnell at Coronet Bingo in Didcot.

He said: “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. I was biting my nails all night as it was getting nearer and nearer.”

The window cleaner, who met Ms Copnell through a shared tragedy, has been playing bingo for more than a decade.

He said: “All my friends take the mickey, but I love it. It’s a brilliant night out.

“Me and Ellen have had such good times there and I wanted it to be somewhere special.”

His proposal came after much preparation with the bingo hall, and marked almost one year exactly since the pair met.

Nurse Ellen, from Faringdon, knew her boyfriend was due to propose as they had already picked out a ring. But the 43-year-old had no idea it would be witnessed by whooping strangers waiting for a full house.

Mr Heath said: “I had been winding Ellen up for weeks about the engagement, and kept giving her little clues. But it was a really big surprise.

“The reaction of the people there was absolutely fantastic; it was electric.

  • Video courtesy of Coronet Bingo, Didcot

“I think they were quite gobsmacked when I got on stage, then they twigged what was going on. They were all clapping.”

The pair live together in Swindon but still travel to Didcot once a week to play bingo with Ellen’s parents.

They met through Ellen’s late husband Brian – Mr Heath’s best friend – who died of leukaemia last year aged just 51.

Mr Heath said: “We were both devastated when he died. None of us saw it coming. It brought us closer together – something special has come out of that sadness. We know he would be happy for us.”

Coronet Didcot’s manager Sean Tucker said it was the first time in his 30 years at the club that he had ever witnessed a proposal.

He said: “It shows how our nice little family run club is an important place in some people’s lives.”

The bingo hall shared a video on its Facebook page of the proposal, in which the audience cheers after a shocked Ellen whispers ‘yes’.

The couple are set to get married in September next year in Wilcote near Witney.