Sheffield man’s marriage proposal was not to be refused

Danny Burns and Shonagh Daly
Danny Burns and Shonagh Daly

A BESOTTED cruise ship entertainer from Sheffield surprised his long-term girlfriend with a romantic flash-mob proposal in the middle of Venice’s St Mark’s Square in Italy.

Actor Danny Burns, aged 36, led a group of fellow singers and dancers from the Cunard Queen Victoria who appeared out of the crowds for the surprise routine in the world famous square, watched by his girlfriend Shonagh Daly, aged 31.

The group danced to the Hall and Oates song ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ before Danny knelt down on one knee and produced an engagement ring in front of hundreds of tourists.

The whole event was videoed by Danny’s dad, Sheffield city centre dentist Philip Burns, who called it The Proposal and posted on YouTube - where it has received more than 9,000 hits.

Danny, a former Birkdale School pupil, said: “Apparently it’s actually illegal to do something like that in St Mark’s Square and I was a little concerned!

“I had visions of being led off in handcuffs by Italian cops before I had chance to propose, but thankfully they never appeared and it all went smoothly.

“The biggest problem was keeping it from Shonagh. We live in each other’s pockets on the ship and I had to tell Shonagh I was going to the gym when I went off to rehearse!”

His plans remained a secret though - and the proposal came as a total shock to Shona.

She said: “‘I didn’t see it coming at all. Danny is obviously a better actor than I gave him credit for and not a bad mover either. It was the best day of my life.”

Danny had planned to ask Shonagh to marry him on board the cruise liner where they work before it docked, and the script went perfectly.

She accepted, and now the couple - who are both actors and have appeared in West End productions - are planning their wedding.

As well as 12 professional dancers and four singers, the performance included both Danny and Shonagh’s mums Linda Burns and Ena Daly, who joined in the dancing.

Danny, who recently appeared at the National Theatre in Alan Bennett’s Habit Of Art, and was shot in the head in an episode of Downton Abbey, said: “I thought of the idea a couple of months before.

“I knew my folks would be on the ship with us and hoped Shonagh’s parents would be on board as well. Thankfully there were.

“The Hall and Oates song is our favourite so I decided to do a routine to that. Luckily we have a group of great dancers on the ship and one of them kindly offered to help me with the choreography.

“It seems everyone on the ship apart from Shonagh knew what was going on. We haven’t fixed a date for the wedding yet but the proposal was certainly was a day to remember.”