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Love is in the air! Wildlife photographer proposes to girlfriend in Norwich Cathedral bell tower

PUBLISHED: 17:26 14 May 2019

Wildlife photographer Chris Skipper proposed to his girlfriend, Kim Paul, in the bell tower of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Tony Denton

Wildlife photographer Chris Skipper proposed to his girlfriend, Kim Paul, in the bell tower of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Tony Denton

Tony Denton

A Norwich wildlife photographer has given a whole new meaning to 'love birds' after proposing to his girlfriend in the bell tower of Norwich Cathedral.

Wildlife photographer Chris Skipper has been taking pictures of peregrines at Norwich Cathedral since 2011. Picture: Chris SkipperWildlife photographer Chris Skipper has been taking pictures of peregrines at Norwich Cathedral since 2011. Picture: Chris Skipper

Chris Skipper, 42, has been capturing pictures of peregrines nesting on the spire of the cathedral since 2011, and it is how he met his girlfriend Kim Paul, 43, in March 2018.

Together, the couple from Costessey have been documenting the hatching and fledging of peregrines in the tower in the past month, and rather fittingly climbed the tower on Monday to witness the birds having rings placed around their feet.

The young peregrines are ringed by fully trained licenced bird ringers, who have been granted special access to the nesting platform.

Mr Skipper said they had originally planned to ring the birds around a week ago, but it had been raining all day and Miss Paul was unable to attend the occasion.
"I thought 'why not propose up there while we are both up there?'" He said. "I have always wanted to propose to Kim in the bell tower, that would be perfect.

Peregrine chicks nesting at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Hawk and Owl TrustPeregrine chicks nesting at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Hawk and Owl Trust

"The general public can't go in the spire so nobody else can do it, that's what made it special."

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With less than a week to prepare, Mr Skipper rushed to buy a ring and hurriedly arranged a photographer to capture the special moment.

While on the way back down the tower on May 13, Mr Skipper dropped to one knee and popped the question to a stunned Miss Paul - 150ft in the air.

Wildlife photographer Chris Skipper proposed to his girlfriend, Kim Paul, in the bell tower of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Chris SkipperWildlife photographer Chris Skipper proposed to his girlfriend, Kim Paul, in the bell tower of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Chris Skipper

"I didn't realise it was going to be so rushed, I can't even remember what I said," he said. "I didn't have long, the peregrines don't like to be disturbed.

"She was in shock and surprised, she didn't see it coming.

"After I proposed, as we started to walk down, the bells started ringing."

Peregrines have been roosting in a box on the cathedral spire since 2011 and, thanks to the work of Fakenham-based Hawk and Owl Trust, wildlife lovers have been able to learn more about them at a watchpoint in the cathedral grounds.

Chris Skipper proposed to his girlfriend, Kim Paul, in the bell tower of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Steve AdamsChris Skipper proposed to his girlfriend, Kim Paul, in the bell tower of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Steve Adams

A live webcam, which can be viewed on the Hawk and Owl Trust website, has given the public a chance to follow a family of peregrines nesting in the spire.

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