Super Mario pops the question at Midlands Comic Com
A boyfriend who met his partner at a Comic Con event five years ago proposed to her at this year's annual convention – while the pair were both dressed as Super Mario characters.
Romantic Chris Bastin, 23, got engaged to his long-term girlfriend, Rose Kenan, 21, in front of thousands of fellow gamers on Valentine's Day.
The happy couple from Stafford had already decided on an engagement ring before Chris popped the question, but he still wanted to include an element of surprise in the proposal.
He got in touch with the organisers of the MCM Expo Group's Midlands Comic Con, being hosted on Saturday, and they were more than happy to give him some stage time.
Chris and Rose, who live together in Stafford town centre, met at the Midlands Comic Con in 2010 when they were both dressed as characters from same first-person shooter video game.
They began dating and have been together ever since.
The event, held at the International Centre in Telford, is attended by more than 8,000 enthusiasts each year.
The pair turned up to this year's convention both fully dressed as the notorious villain from the Super Mario series – Waluigi – complete with the character's infamous moustache and purple cap.
During the afternoon, just after "Red Dwarf" had finished a Q&A session, Chris was able to hop on stage and he asked Rose to marry him, while they were both still dressed as their favourite anti-hero.
Chris who works as a software support worker at a software development company said: "The problem was that we had a ring that we actually picked together.
"So then I thought I would organise something on stage so I could still surprise Rose, and the event organisers were amazingly helpful.
"We got the ring a few weeks ago. It cost me about £200, but we haven't given any thought to the wedding yet, that's still to be decided.
"My moustache kept falling off throughout the time I was on stage but apart from that it was perfect.
"We both decided to dress up as Waluigi just because we thought it was funny.
"She knew I was going to propose at some point but I kept playing down when it would be so that I could still make it a surprise on stage.
"There was a pretty massive crowd there watching as we got to the stage which was like an inflatable dome, and they all cheered and clapped when she said yes.
"They had just had a 'Red Dwarf' panel answering questions before us, and there was a special event straight after us which is always really popular so the place was actually packed.
"I have been coming for years now, and Rose and I actually met here five years ago.
"When we both came separately in 2010 we were both dressed as characters from the game 'Team Fortress 2' so we got chatting, and haven't looked back since."
Rose, who works in the bakery sector of her local Asda, added: "I'm a bit shaken up to be honest. I wasn't expecting that at all.
"But I am over the moon, it was amazing."
Co-organiser of Midlands Comic Con, Bryan Cooney, said: "We'd like to offer Chris and Rose congratulations from everyone here at MCM Expo.
"We never expected to watch one Waluigi propose to another Waluigi on-stage at Comic Con, but you've got to admit it's pretty darn romantic. St. Valentine would definitely approve."
The MCM Expo Group hosts the UK's largest and most popular Comic Con pop culture events and Memorabilia Collectors shows.
The Midlands Comic Con is the first MCM event at the beginning of the convention season each year.
There are also Comic Con's hosted in London, Glasgow, Dublin, Stockholm, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester and Malmo.