The Wreck My Dress Press Office
The city of Manchester is currently in the romantic aftermath of the most exciting Valentines Day it has ever experienced courtesy of Key103 and Wreck My Dress.
Back in December, the team, made up of Worsley based Wreck My Dress and Greater Manchester’s Key103, came up with an idea. To create the biggest surprise proposal Manchester had ever seen.
The aptly named ‘Surprisal’ would be offered as part of a competition through the ever-popular Breakfast Show with Mike & Chelsea. Entrants were required to declare exactly why they thought they should become Manchester’s sweethearts, at the centre of one of the most romantic gestures the city, and indeed the UK would see this Valentines Day.
Following a grueling judging process, the panel were moved almost to tears by the story of Darren Mcleod, who had planned to propose to girlfriend Rachel Hepworth in the Lake District during a romantic weekend break. The Stalybridge couple who have been together for eight years, both have children from previous relationships – Darren’s daughter Ella and Rachel’s son Callum.
Tragically, the romantic break would not materialise as the news of the unexpected death of Callum’s father came via a phone call the day before. Out of respect, the team chose not to focus too much on this sad event in the video, but instead to highlight the solid, close knit family unit as they move forward in to happier times.
With a truly emotional, loving, yet turbulent backstory, the team were left in no doubt that this couple were worthy winners.
Behind the scenes, the date was confirmed. Friday 14th February 2014, Valentines Day of course. The location was also confirmed (but not yet announced to the public) as Spinningfields. In the shadows of glass fronted buildings, financial headquarters, designer shops and top eateries, a true declaration of love would warm the hearts of even the coldest of Mancunian’s!
As the intrigue, Key 103 listeners were kept in the dark as to the identity of the couple, known simply as Mr & Miss X, building up anticipation for the events that lay ahead.
Much of the information was kept secret right until the eleventh hour, with Mike and Chelsea only announcing the location during their Valentines morning show.
Rachel was taken to The Great John Street Hotel on the eve of Valentines Day (13th Feb) for what she believed to be a ‘Groupon offer’ including a champagne breakfast at Australasia. This was to be the start of a long list of events culminating in the proposal in the heart of the city.
Following a rather bizarre taxi journey during the morning rush hour, Rachel remained clueless to what was happening, even as Corrie’s Simon Gregson and wife Emma joined them for their scenic ride of the city.
Once seated in Australasia, a well rehearsed Darren took his cue to ‘use the bathroom’, before dashing across The Avenue to change in to his James Bond-esque tuxedo.
With a small army of stilt walkers, dancers, fire breathers, phony policemen (including Key 103’s own DJ Adam Catterall) and celebrities in place, a plethora of odd events unraveled in front of an unsuspecting Rachel. Whilst waiting for Darren to return, a large explosion from the kitchen followed by a fire alarm caused her to be ushered out on to The Avenue, where excited crowds had gathered for the morning’s action.
Deano Cammack, who had been Rachel’s ‘waiter’ in Australasia a little earlier kicked off the flash mob dance troupe. Mike, Chelsea and Matt joined in with the dancers as well as members of Little Stars Stage School. Music was provided by the hugely talented Sam Gray, performing a rendition of Drake’s ‘Hold on we’re going home’ – the couples favourite song.
Perhaps the start of the tear jerking moments came when a screen came to life playing a pre-recording of Darren asking Rachel’s son Callum for permission to marry his mum. The pre-recording had been filmed the night before, in The Hilton Deansgate.
As the VT came to an end, Darren emerged from the stage and on bended knee said ‘There were a million and one things I wanted to say to you, but I just want you to know I love you more than anything else in the world…will you marry me?’…A very emotional ‘YES’ from Rachel followed. DJ Adam Catterall clarified her ‘YES’ to the waiting crowds not quite close enough to the action, resulting in an explosion of cheers, confetti cannons and a basket release of white doves.
Celebration was most definitely the theme, as a Chinese dragon led a conga, stilt walkers and fire breathers around Spinningfields as family and friends congratulated the wonderful couple. Music and dancing also continued, as the crowd was treated to a rather impromptu gig from Sam Gray.
Numerous influential brands, businesses and people helped in the coordination and execution of The Surprisal, many of which played a role as an unsuspecting diner in Australasia. Local brands all got in on the act, and listeners of Key103 played a huge part in the ideas, format and creation of the stunt as well as forming a large part of the supporting crowd.
#KeySurprisal reached the prestigious achievement of Manchester’s top trending hashtag on Twitter, and images from the event have continued via a host of social platforms over the weekend, as the couple jetted off to Paris to celebrate.
Kate Cocker, Content Controller for Key103 expressed her gratitude to the Manchester crowd via twitter shortly after the event ‘This is Manchester’s greatest proposal and you (Manchester) made a dream come true’.
The video of The Surprisal captures all the romantic action from Manchester on Valentines Day, and can be viewed on Key103’s You Tube page, as well as their website.
Click here to watch