Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Hurworth tradition flags up Austrian proposal
A ROMANCE that began with a blind date in Austria has blossomed into a successful marriage proposal on a North East village green - partially thanks to an unusual local tradition.
Michi Kroll (CORRECT), 44, got down on one knee to pop the question to girlfriend Barbara Maczejka (CORRECT), 38, on the green at Hurworth, near Darlington, at noon today (Friday, October 26), Austria’s National Day.
Fortunately it is tradition in Hurworth, that foreign visitors to the village may fly their national flag on the green's flagpole if it is their country’s national day, so the happy couple were able to pledge their troth to each other beneath their homeland's red and white colours.
Miss Maczejka, who shed tears of delight at the proposal, said she had “waited eight long years” for the moment.
“It is a strange feeling, I feel great, I am really happy right now,” she said.
“I didn’t suspect anything at all, it was a complete surprise and I’m just delighted.
“He’d asked me in a funny way about three-years-ago and I laughed because I thought it was a joke!
“Since then he’s always said ‘you laughed at me last time, so never again!’”
The couple, who have a five-year-old daughter together, Hannah, are spending a week in Hurworth with Tim Cuthbertson who was raised in the village but moved to Austria 10-years-ago to be with his Austrian wife Julia.
Mr Kroll began planning the proposal in June after Mr Cuthbertson told him of Hurworth’s flag tradition over a coffee in Vienna.
Mr Kroll said: “Tim told me about the flag thing and I thought it would be a good idea to propose under it, then the idea just grew and grew.
“I was very nervous beforehand, you never can tell what they will say, but I did think she would say yes and I’m glad she did.”
Mr Kroll and Miss Maczejka, who work for the Austrian equivalent of the NHS, were first put in touch with each other by colleagues who thought they would be perfect for each other.
The pair exchanged several emails but did not meet until their very first date eight-years-ago which Mr Kroll said “lasted from 6pm to 6am”.
A wedding date has already been set and the happy couple will tie the knot in Austria on July 13, 2013.