Sussex

Lionel Richie: Endless love for couple who get engaged at concert

John Whelan and Alex Smallman Image copyright Natalie Burtenshaw
Image caption The couple's friend Natalie Burtenshaw captured the moment

A couple who stole the show when they got engaged at a Lionel Richie concert hope it will be endless love.

John Whelan, 35, proposed to girlfriend Alex Smallman while the star was singing Stuck On You.

Richie stopped the show in Hove to congratulate the couple saying "get that ring on her finger".

Ms Smallman said she had been overwhelmed as hundreds of people reacted to their happy moment all night long.

"I had no idea at all. All our friends were in on it, but I had absolutely no clue," Ms Smallman said.

Mr Whelan had bought the ring three months earlier after booking the tickets for the show at the County Ground.

Image caption Lionel Richie stopped the show to congratulate the pair

Ms Smallman, 36, said the song, Stuck On You, had always been her favourite.

When the band started playing it, she said her boyfriend remarked "let's go down to the front and have a boogie."

"Lionel was singing, but I think everyone was making such a big deal about us and it was gathering momentum," she said.

"He caught a glimpse. He was dragging his guys across the stage and he said 'come on, say yes, get that ring on her finger'."

Image caption The proposal from John Whelan to Alex Smallman was captured on the big screen at the concert

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When the star finished the song, she said he told them it was not often someone stole his show.

"He said congratulations and then he said to John 'let me tell you she's an absolute keeper'."

The couple first said 'Hello' when they were introduced to each other by a mutual friend more than two years ago.

"My life took off," Ms Smallman said. "It was totally transformed."

Image copyright Natalie Burtenshaw
Image caption Their friends said "Lionel will never be the same for us"

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