Sussex celebrates Leap Day, including a proposal on Brighton's i360 and a 92-year-old turning 23

Sussex residents have celebrated Leap Day by sharing stories of proposals and birthdays - including a proposal in the sky and a 92-year-old celebrating her 23rd birthday.

Seizing the opportunity of a leap year - linked to a tradition that says a woman can propose to a man - legal Secretary Bobby Davison from Luton stunned her lighting designer boyfriend, Steve Haw, by popping the question on Brighton's i360, 450ft above Brighton beach.

Describing the moment, Steve said: “It was 9am and a leap year so Bobby didn’t hang about! I am gob-smacked and really touched that Bobby went to such an effort to bring me to Brighton and propose on the i360. The whole thing just makes me love her even more.”

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Ella Croucher, 23, from Brighton, sang James Blunt, ‘You’re Beautiful,’ a song close to the couple’s hearts.


The couple met 13 years previously on an 80’s Butlins weekend. Bobby said: “On our first date I accidentally set fire to the napkin from the candle on the table which caused absolute uproar in the restaurant - so Steve knows life with me is a little crazy! It’s only fitting that an engagement between us would not be your typical proposal."

Leap days are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. A complete orbit around the sun takes slightly longer than 365 days – 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds longer.

On the Chichester Observer Facebook page, Justyna Madrowska saw the bright side of her milestone birthday. She said: "I'm 40 today but celebrating my 10th birthday at the same time "

Natalie Squires said: "I asked my husband to marry me eight years ago on leap year, on top of an open top bus tour on the tower bridge in London "

Matthew Harling turns 'four today

Rachael Harling wished her son Matthew a happy 16th birthday - although technically he is four years old. She said: "He absolutely loves it that he was born on a leap year!!"

In Eastbourne, several people shared their stories on the Herald's Facebook page.

Kim Ivimy said: "My auntie Dorothy who lives in Hailsham is 23 today. She's really 92 but this is her 23rd birthday!"

Becki Isted added: "My daughter is having her first official birthday today. Born 29/2/16. She is four today, but able to celebrate on her actual birthday for the first time."

Commenters also congratulated James Dee, who announced he was getting married today.

On the Worthing Herald page, Annie Winchester congratulated her granddaughter Charlotte Benn, 24, on her 'sixth' birthday.

Over in the Horsham area, Sylvia Leach commented on the West Sussex County Times Facebook page with her story. She said: "I proposed to my hubby on the 29th Feb in 1992 and we married the following year.

"We will be celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary in May this year ‍❤️‍‍"

Paul Hounsham said he 'married his beautiful wife 12 years ago today' - making today their third anniversary as well.

Christine Bolton added: "I proposed to my husband on this day 4 years ago and now 4 years later happily married "