Grantham cancer patient proposes to partner after more than 30 years together

Paul O'Boyle and partner Barbara Davies who he proposed to after his fund-raising climb in the Lake District.
Paul O'Boyle and partner Barbara Davies who he proposed to after his fund-raising climb in the Lake District.
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A cancer patient has proposed to his partner of more than 30 years after a fund-raising climb in the Lake District.

Paul O’Boyle, who has stage four cancer which he has been told is inoperable, popped the question to Barbara Davies at the foot of Blencathra.

Paul O'Boyle with work colleagues and fund-raisers Alison Shaw and Donna Carroll.

Paul O'Boyle with work colleagues and fund-raisers Alison Shaw and Donna Carroll.

Barbara immediately said ‘yes’ and a date has been set for November 17 at Grantham register office with a reception at Belton Park Golf Club.

The couple have been together for 33 years and have lived together for more than 30 years. They have also been engaged for most of that time but never got around to tying the knot.

Paul, 55, was in the Lake District to climb the mountain with family and friends to raise money for St Barnabas Hospice in Grantham and Boston Pilgrim Hospital where he has been undergoing chemotherapy. He has raised more than £1,500.

Paul, who lives with Barbara in Fifth Avenue, climbed Blencathra with two of his co-workers from Moy Park in Grantham, Alison Shaw and Donna Carroll, Alison’s husband Phil, and his step-daughter Lyndsay and her partner Gary Spiers. Barbara travelled with them to spend five days in the area but didn’t want to do the climb.

Barbara, 58, said: “Paul proposed to me in the car park at the bottom of the hill. I was totally shocked. I was straight on the phone to the register 
office. I guess it was about time!”

Paul said the experience of climbing Blencathra was 
“brilliant” even though the group was unable to reach the summit because of bad weather.

Paul said: “We were told not to attempt it. We went up about two thirds of the way but we had to turn back. It was very windy and there was mist, rain and fog.

“But we are all over the moon we managed to get as far as we did. We knew we had to turn back but on the way down we thought we can’t wait to do it again.”

Paul had hoped to walk Sharp Edge, a very narrow ridge as part of the five-mile trek but the wind and bad weather made it impossible.

He said: “It was a great day. I had decided to propose to Barbara at the end of the walk and was hoping all the way down she was going to say yes. I am absolutely delighted.”

Paul said he had aimed to raise about £600 and was really pleased to have collected more than £1,500.

Paul, who has worked at Moy Park in Grantham for 31 years, was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus last year. He has been receiving chemotherapy since January.

Despite his illness, he is a keen walker and likes to get out into the surrounding villages. He admits to be “huffing and puffing” a bit more these days but is determined to take on more challenges.

Paul thanked everybody who had made a donation and also his employers who have allowed him to be flexible with his working hours. He said Pilrim Hospital and St Barnabas has been “amazing” in helping him with his illness.