A father of three proposed to his love of 14 years in a novel way over Christmas, enlisting the help of Santa and the elves at a branch of Dunnes Stores in Cork.

Ray Foley, from Carrigaline, Co Cork, contacted staff at Dunnes Stores on St Patrick St asking for their assistance as he popped the question to his long-term partner, Laura Curry.

He told the Neil Prendeville Show on Cork’s Red FM that he decided to propose as it was “about time that he did something important for her”.

“I was thinking for ages for how I would do it.

“I got this idea and I said I would use the Santa Experience to do the big job.

“I emailed Dunnes around a week beforehand to see if they would facilitate me,” he said.

“Obviously, I had never done it before. They came back and said ‘no problem’.

“I let on I wasn’t being let out of work until a certain time and Laura was bringing the kids to Dunnes.

“I pretty much went in an hour before, gave the ring to Gearoid (a staff member). Pretty much all of the elves were in on it.”

Ray said staff at Dunnes couldn’t have been more helpful.

“They were brilliant. Every one of the elves were winking at me when Laura’s back was turned.

“We got brought in to Santa.

“Santa talked to them (the kids) and gave them presents. He called Laura over and sat her down and it happened very quickly after that.

“Santa said he had a present for her and I think she pretty much knew after that. She knew what was coming.

“When Santa brought out the ring box she started crying. She was delighted. I have never seen her so happy.

“Normally our Christmas is just centred around the kids. The kids stayed on the floor ripping their presents open from Santa and had no interest whatsoever.”

Ray said when he got down on one knee and proposed, the door behind him burst open and the elves came through “cheering and roaring”.

The couple plan to marry in 2019.

Dunnes Stores on St Patrick St has a track record for assisting families at Christmas time.

A manager and security guard dressed up as Santa Claus and Buddy the Elf in order to save the day for two kids who turned up at the Santa Experience on Christmas week in 2016 to find that it had closed for the season.

Valerie Costello, of Rathcormac, Co Cork, had booked the Santa Experience for her daughters, Rachel, 6, and Aoife, 3. Her booking was for December 22. She arrived to the store on December 23 not realising her tickets were for the previous day — the Santa hut was shut.

When alerted to her predicament, Dunnes Stores staff spent 40 minutes making the experience as memorable as possible for her children.


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