A QUIRKY proposal saw a North-East woman driven to tears of joy on Thursday (August 7).

Fiona Thoirs was about to enjoy a meal with her children at Darlington’s Pizza Express when a bus pulled up outside the restaurant with the words ‘Fiona, will you marry me?’ scrolling across the front.

She was shocked to see her boyfriend, Frank Smith, emerge from the bus clutching a huge bouquet of flowers.

There were cheers all round when Mr Smith, 39, dropped to his knees in the street and asked the love of his life to marry him.

The pair were serenaded by a solo violinist as Ms Thoirs, 37, tearfully accepted the unexpected proposal and an elegant diamond ring.

Afterwards, she said: “I’m so shocked, I can’t believe it, he doesn’t do things by halves.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all, he told me he was at a job interview and he’s not usually that romantic.

“I said yes straight away – I had no doubts, he’s the man for me, he’s genuine, kind, he’s taken my kids on and he’s just great.”

Mr Smith’s unusual proposal to his girlfriend of almost two years came about when he won a competition arranged by Arriva buses.

He said: “I’m over the moon, this is the happiest day of my life and having the kids here makes it all the more special.

“I saw an advert on the bus and it seemed like the right thing to do as we’ve been talking about moving in together.

“Everyone involved was sworn to secrecy and Fiona had no idea.

“She’s a wonderful person who’s been through a lot and still manages to smile. We just click – we never argue, we’ve never had a cross word and I want to spend the rest of my life with her.”