Is Chelsea's Frank Lampard eyeing £1.5m move to Newcastle with Christine Bleakley?
With their wealth they could set up home anywhere in the world. But could it be that the stunning landscapes of Co Down have caught the eye of celebrity couple Christine Bleakley and Frank Lampard?
It is widely expected that the couple will come home to Northern Ireland to get married. But now speculation is mounting that they could also buy a luxury holiday home in the province.
According to local sources, an award-winning £1.5m property in Newcastle has caught their eye.
‘Scotts on the Rocks’ is at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and was named the Belfast Telegraph’s Most Desirable Home.
Despite the speculation, a spokesman for the estate agent BTW Cairns told the Belfast Telegraph the couple have not viewed the property so far.
But the Co Down town is rife with rumours that the Chelsea star has expressed an interest in the property, which was also featured on the BBC series House of the Year.
Meanwhile, a church near to where Christine’s parents live in Newtownards is believed to be the favoured venue for the wedding.
The couple were reportedly spotted among the congregation at Ballyblack Presbyterian Church near her home town of Newtownards recently.
No-one from the church could be contacted yesterday. But previously Rev Simon Henning of Ballyblack Presbyterian Church said he was unable to comment on claims that the couple had been part of the congregation.
Christine yesterday revealed how the Chelsea footballer had asked her parents’ permission before proposing.
“He phoned my parents, he’s spoken to my mum and dad beforehand, so he’d done the very right thing,” she said.
“So they were very happy, and yes, my family are over the Moon. We all are, we’re all a bit shocked and surprised, but really quite ecstatic.”
Christine added that she started to cry when she realised he was about to propose.
“I started to cry for about 10 minutes and then he pulled the ring out and said ‘Will you marry me?’ And that was it!” She also said her new fiancé got one of his friends to fly out to Los Angeles with the ring so she would not see it and spoil the surprise.
The couple have also received many messages of congratulations from the celebrity world.
“I’ve had so many messages on my phone and it means so much to the both of us, and it’s incredibly kind of people and we can’t quite believe the response that there’s been so far,” she told Daybreak. But the messages also came from the people who she grew up with.
Former teachers of the Bloomfield Collegiate pupil sent their congratulations to the television star.
The teacher who helped Christine get her foot in the door of the BBC for the first time said everyone at the school was “over the Moon”.
Helen Shearer, her careers adviser, who also taught her art and helped arrange her work experience, said: “I remember after she did one week of her work experience the BBC came back and said: ‘You sent us someone special, she will go far’.
“She was in Year 13 and took advantage of every opportunity in the BBC and worked hard.
“Christine was always very clear on what she wanted to achieve and we couldn’t be prouder.”
She added: “Christine is such a talented, lovely girl — how could Frank not fall in love with her?”
A decision to tie the knot at a local venue or church would prove popular with locals.
“It would be lovely for her to be married in Belfast and to share it,” Ms Shearer said.
George Mawhinney, principal of Castle Gardens Primary School, Newtownards, where Christine also attended, said of the engagement: “It was the talk of the staff room and there has been a real buzz in the school.”
“People in Newtownards are very fond of Christine.
“We are so proud of her and what she has achieved.
“The children are all in awe of her and look at her as being a princess.
“We would love for them both to come and visit us — that is an open invitation.”