All I want for Christmas is you!

Love is in the air at Sherwood Forest as one Center Parcs employee gets asked a very special question in Santa’s Grotto

The secret Santa gets his answer. Yes!
The secret Santa gets his answer. Yes!
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The secret Santa gets his answer. Yes!
The secret Santa gets his answer. Yes!

Tracey Marshall, Shift Manager at Sherwood Forest’s Guest Services, got more than she’d bargained for during a Christmas lunch on the Village as Santa Claus proposed to her.

Tracey, who’s worked at the Village for more than 13 years, met her now-fiancé Paul Tyson on Match.com one year ago on December 12, or 12.12.12. To celebrate their first year together, the loved-up couple had planned to go for a quiet meal that evening. Or she thought …

Behind the scenes, our budding Romeo, Paul, was planning a surprise. He says: “I contacted Pat [Orange, a Shift Manager at Guest Services] and asked if I could propose to Tracey in Santa’s Grotto, dressed as Santa. I wanted it to be a total surprise.

“Pat spoke with Karen Henderson [Sherwood Forest General Manager], who said ‘How can I help and can I be involved?’”

A perfect fit
And just like Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole, everything ran like clockwork. “I knew we would get engaged, but didn’t know when or how. We’d looked at a couple of rings months ago but nothing else was said,” says Tracey. “My reaction was total shock when I saw the ring because he had chosen my favourite and it was a perfect fit. Of course, I said ‘yes’.”

The future Mr and Mrs say they couldn’t have done it without the help of Tracey’s colleagues at Center Parcs. “I think the whole of the Village was involved!” says Tracey. “Pat, Karen and Craig Kelly were vitally helpful to Paul – as well as a few elves. I must give a special mention to Santa, who stood in the closet while Paul borrowed his red suit!”

“The team also managed to sneak my daughter in to witness the whole wonderful event.”

In sickness and in elf
But not one to do things by halves, Paul’s planning didn’t stop there. “Afterwards we shared a glass of Champagne before going outside to be joined by the elves, which was a surreal experience! To top it off, in the evening Paul arranged a surprise party for me and all the family,” she says.

So after a Winter Wonderland proposal exactly one year after they met, will the pair keep the tradition and set a date for December 12, 2014? Tracey says: “There’s no date set yet. I do like the idea of a Christmas wedding as it’s a magical time of year. One thing’s for sure, though, I will be watching Paul and my colleagues much more closely now – who knows what other memorable moments they have up their sleeve?”

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Amy Dickson

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Amy Dickson

As Brand Content Manager I plan, create and curate the best articles, photos, videos and music for our channels, in particular the blog. With a degree in Journalism under my belt and many years’ experience in the big smoke as a journalist and editor, my focus is firmly on discovering the little gems hidden away in Center Parcs life, before buffing them up to make them sparkle online. From on-village events to the latest travel industry trends, I’ll be there – notepad in hand – to bring you the most entertaining and interesting stories.