Dolphin delivers marriage proposal
A dolphin delivered a special message to a British woman in the form of a marriage proposal, after she fulfilled a life-long dream to swim with one.
Emotions were running high when Alex Rigby, 27, from St Helens in Merseyside, asked his girlfriend to be his wife at Discovery Cove in Orlando at the weekend.
Debbie Preston, 26, also from St Helens, could hardly contain her surprise and happiness at the spectacle, which involved a dolphin swimming over to her with a buoy that said 'Debbie, will you marry me?'.
The couple had just spent time in the water with the dolphin - swimming, kissing it on its nose and watching it do tricks - when the dramatic proposal unfolded.
Surrounded by friends and family who had flown to the US for the wedding of Mr Rigby's sister in Florida two days previously, Ms Preston did not hesitate in saying 'yes'.
A ring awaited the bride-to-be on the beach when she emerged from the water.
Struggling to find the words to sum up how she felt just moments afterwards, she said: "I can't speak right now.
"I can plan a wedding. Yeah! Great!"
Adding: "I didn't ever think I'd ever come to Florida, let alone swim with dolphins as well."
She described the events as "so emotional", and said she was completely taken by surprise.
Mr Rigby said he had been building up to this for some time and had thought a lot about how he would pop the question.
"When I decided to do it I thought, Florida... so many options.
"This is what she's wanted to do all her life," he said.
Mr Rigby's newlywed sister, Lorraine Lea, said the family had known about the proposal "for ages".
One person who found it difficult to keep the exciting plan to herself was five-year-old daughter Brooke.
Looking up at Ms Preston, she said: "Mummy, can I be a bridesmaid?"
Family members joked that "lots of sweets" were needed to ensure Brooke kept the plan under wraps.