Pupils’ joy as mum says ‘I do’ at school assembly

Cornelis Stubbe with fiance Nelke Van Hulst and their children Nina, Babette, Rachel, Zac and Pieter.
Cornelis Stubbe with fiance Nelke Van Hulst and their children Nina, Babette, Rachel, Zac and Pieter.

A romantic man ambushed his sweetheart with a marriage proposal in front of hundreds of schoolchildren.

Cornelis Stubbe popped the question to partner Nelke van Hulst at Meadowbank Primary in Atherton, in front of a packed hall of pupils and parents at their end-of-half-term assembly.

The 51-year-old had kept his plans secret for weeks, and drafted his children in to help.

Three of them - Nina, Babette and Rachel who are all pupils at the school - stood before the whole assembly and asked their dad to make their mum a “Stubbe like them”.

The couple’s younger two children, Zac and Pieter, were also there to witness their mum’s - and the assembly’s - astonished reaction. Thankfully for all concerned, the 30-year-old now-bride-to-be said yes!

“I was very surprised,” said Nelke. “The children kept it a great secret. I am very excited. I am already picking a wedding dress and dresses for the girls!”

The school described the moment as a “lovely surprise” and that it would “ensure Cornelis’s future wife would never forget the moment that he proposed”.

Cornelis, like Nelke, hails from Holland where they met in 2009 before moving to England three years later. He wanted to give his future wife a moment she would never forget, as neither of them have many family or friends in the UK.

“We are pretty isolated,” said Cornelis. “It is pretty hard to find a friend base like you have in your hometown.

“I have no real problem with it. I easily talk to people, but for Nelke it is harder because the kids rule our lives.

“It’s hard to get out and be social. Imagine having to get a babysitter for five kids!”

Cornelis also wanted the very public gesture to act as something of an outstretched hand to the community.

The Dutch couple are wasting no time and intend to wed later this year, although a date has yet to be fixed.

n See the moment the heartwarming action was captured on video at facebook.com/meadowbankprimaryschool