Riky Ash asked his sweetheart to marry him as he was covered in flames spreading up his back and legs.
Nurse Katrina Dobson, 48, was left speechless by the stunt, but eventually regained her composure and said yes.
Dobson knew her beau would be set alight, but thought she was just taking part in a photo shoot, and had no idea he would propose.
She was told it was for a piece about a National Health Service nurse finding love, and even turned up in her scrubs.
“He sold it to me as a story on something that would make people smile,” said Dobson, who works in the accident and emergency department. “When he was set on fire, I saw he had his hand in his pocket. I thought, ‘What are you doing, get your hand out of your pocket.’ And all of a sudden he just took out this ring.”
Dobson, who works at the coronavirus unit at William Harvey Hospital in Kent, United Kingdom, added: “It really was a lovely way to do it. He lives and breathes his job, so it was the perfect proposal.”
“She couldn’t even get the word ‘yes’ out because she was so shocked,” said Ash, 52, who played the ‘Tango Man’ in a series of popular soft drink commercials in the U.K. and did stunts in the Tim Burton blockbuster Sleepy Hollow. “This is what I do day in, day out. I was so excited to do it. For me, it was like doing a big Hollywood blockbuster and I was proposing to my girlfriend at the same time.”
The stuntman, from Nottingham, added: “We all know each other in the stunt industry, and no one’s ever proposed on fire before.”
During the shoot, the trickster knelt while extending the ring toward his love, who watched on as the flames appear to engulf her partner.
Photographer David Sinclair, who has worked with Ash previously, had doused the stuntman before the stunt.
“The accelerant causes a big whoosh of flame and then dies out immediately. The idea was for the flames to last just enough to say, ‘Will you marry me Katrina Dobson?,'” Sinclair said.
The couple met online and went on their first date in March, just before the lockdown.
“It was a whirlwind romance. We went on a date and knew from the very beginning we wanted to spend our time together,” said Dobson, who is from Sevenoaks, Kent. “Then lockdown happened and we spoke on the phone every day for three weeks.”
She added: “I love my job working in A&E. I love helping people, but I’ve never found that right person before. I’m pinching myself. I can’t believe it’s me.”
Ash has been a stunt double for 27 years working on countless commercials, television program and films, alongside A-listers including Richard Burton and Johnny Depp.
He hopes his dramatic proposal rewarded his wife-to-be for her tireless work during the pandemic.
The stuntman said: “Katrina has worked so hard during these times and I know that this will make her year receiving my proposal of marriage rewarding her for her continued commitment to changing people’s lives for the better,” he said. “She is a very modest hard working lady, I am very fortunate to have met her and she has changed my life in so many positive ways.”
His short stature — he’s 5′ 3″ — has boosted his career and helped him become the Guinness World Records’ ‘Most Versatile Stuntman’ in 2000 after having doubled actors of all heights, ages and genders.