The iconic departure boards at Victoria station are a familiar sight to the millions of passengers who make their way from the capital to the South of England every year.
They’re also where emotional goodbyes and joyful reunions happen, holding a special place in the hearts of many.
Last Sunday (December 19), one very special goodbye turned into the start of a romantic journey which will last forever.
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At 8pm, the list of “next fastest trains” on the screens disappeared and two passengers got a much more personal bit of information instead.
“A message from Greece to Mars… will you marry me?” appeared. Then Younan, 32, a business development exec from West London dropped to one knee and proposed to Maria, 26, a pharmacist from Eastbourne. She said yes and the commuters returning home to the South for the weekend were overwhelmed with joy.
(Image: Callum Marius)
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Younan and Maria would always meet each other at Victoria. She would take the Southern train from Eastbourne, he would take the Tube, and they would go on dates and explore the city together.
Younan explained: “The journey would always come to the end at Victoria but now it never has to.
“I wondered where to do it and I wanted it to be somewhere memorable. I thought it’d be a long shot but I emailed Southern Rail and luckily from my initial message they really wanted to help.”
The proposal almost didn’t go to plan though. On December 19, the couple’s anniversary, engineering works meant that Maria almost couldn’t get back to Eastbourne from London, meaning Younan had to convince her to take the train to Haywards Heath instead. Then at 8pm, when the screen had been set to change to Maria’s special message, there were a few seconds of hesitation where it did not appear and Maria turned around and almost missed it.
Younan adds: “She loved it for sure though! I panicked because she’s very clever and I thought she might have suspected something!”
The planet Mars appeared on the screen with the proposal message (“A message from Greece to Mars… will you marry me?”). Mars is Younan’s nickname for Maria, who once had a planet Mars-themed birthday in her honour and Younan’s name in his family’s native language is also the word for Greece. It certainly made a change from the 9.02pm train to Haywards Heath which Maria was expecting.
Younan laughs: “From the first day I met her, I called her ‘Mars’…. I think she gets my humour, I’ve got a bit of cheese in me!”
Much like a modern day Gavin and Stacey, who get also get engaged at a London train station in the popular TV sitcom, the couple is planning to get married at the end of next year and hope they won’t be having to say goodbye to each other at Victoria for much longer.
They thanked the Southern social media team for making it happen and did indeed take the train together to Haywards Heath, as they planned their ultimate journey together.
Alice Attwood, from Southern’s comms team said: “When Younan got in touch with his plea for support to make this very romantic gesture, we had to help! We were really pleased to play a small part in Younan and Maria’s story and wish them well for the future!”
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Have you got any special stations in your love life? Tell us in the comments below!
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