A TEACHER was swept off her feet by her knight in shining armour in front of her pupils yesterday.

Mark Crayford took romantic gestures to the next level as he chose an extraordinary way to propose to girlfriend Tracey Badenski by turning up on a horse and wearing a suit of armour.

The 49-year-old, from Kingshill, turned up on the grey horse, Dove, and rode onto the playing fields of Even Swindon Primary School, where Tracey is a teacher.

The proposal did not go entirely smoothly as Mark was thrown to the floor as he tried to dismount, but he was pulled to his feet by Tracey before getting down on one knee to propose.

Mark, who is the manager of Car and Truck Services, said: “I am just a romantic, and I couldn’t think of a more romantic way to propose.

“It has taken me six months to set up but it has all been worth it.

“It started with the ring – we were shopping and Tracey saw it and said it would be a great engagement ring, so I went back the next day and ordered it.

“I always had this as an idea and I had to find the suit and ended up buying it in from Germany.

“This has taken a lot of planning – a lot of the time I was sneaking off to Faringdon to practice on the horse.

“I hadn’t been on a horse for a long time and I had to get her used to the armour.

“There were a couple of times when I fell off, but the horse was brilliant.

“I am happy it is done and that she said yes.”

The couple went to Commonweal School together but only met again eight years ago through the website Friends Reunited.

Tracey, who was also celebrating her birthday yesterday, said she knew nothing about the proposal until she saw the horse coming down the road and knew exactly what was going on.

She said: “It is amazing, I am still in shock. I knew nothing about it. The other teachers said that one of my pupils had had an accident and that is why I had to go outside.

“I saw him over the top of the fence coming down the road. He had said years ago that he might do it but I thought nothing about it. It is fantastic he has done this.

“You have got to say that it is a very romantic gesture.”

Dove was hired from Cass Winter, who is based in Great Coxwell, and can be hired for any event. Cass said: “This is our strangest request. It is a great idea and I am glad we could help.”

The couple are now planning something a little more low key for the wedding day.