British holidaymaker’s heart stops on dancefloor just an hour after proposing to wife

Gareth William popped the question to Louise Walkington while on holiday (Picture: Kennedy News)

Gareth Williams, 60, knew proposing to his partner of one year would be heart-stoppingly romantic. Figuratively, that is.

Yet only hours after popping the question to Louise Walkington, 56, in Corfu, Greece, Gareth’s heart did just that – it stopped.

‘He made a bit of a gurgling sound then just went unconscious,’ Louise, a mother-of-one, said.

‘I was thinking the worst. I was thinking: “Is he going to die in front of my eyes?” I was in shock.’

The couple met last year at a resort on the northwest island, the very one where Gareth proposed last month.

There was already plenty to celebrate. Gareth was turning 60 and the couple had been together for a year.

The couple met at a resort in Corfu last year (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)
Gareth joked that one reason he asked Louise to marry him is because he’s ‘not getting any younger’ (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘Last year as a joke, he bought a €7 ring and dropped down on one knee and “proposed” to me,’ Louise, an operations manager, said.

‘This year, he reenacted that proposal whilst all our friends were there and did it for real on the apartment balcony where he pulled out a beautiful ring.

‘It was a little bit surreal. I had no idea it was coming.’

Joking that he’s ‘not getting any younger’, Gareth, a housing company foreman, knew that proposing in the place where he met the woman he knew he’d spend the rest of his life with was a no-brainer.

Gareth and Louise, who live in Sittingbourne, Kent, went for drinks with friends to celebrate getting hitched. When Gareth saw the dance floor, he knew he had no choice but to get down on it.

That’s when Gareth started to feel fuzzy. ‘I stopped dancing and that’s all I remember,’ he said.

Gareth fell unconscious while dancing (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)
He had to be airlifted back home for treatment (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

‘I remember being sat on a chair and there were lots of people around me. My back was really painful.’

Gareth was taken to hospital and treated for two broken ribs, a fracture in the lower vertebrae and fluid in both lungs.

Louise watched as her fiancé was airlifted from Greece to Britain 12 days later as Gareth couldn’t stomach the altitude in his state. Doctors in Medway Maritime Hospital found Gareth had a blockage in his heart.

The medical bills in Greece had piled up – fast. State healthcare in the country is only partially free, and Louise is thankful they have insurance.

‘I was definitely in shock. It was awful. I don’t know how to explain it,’ Louise said, adding that she encourages everyone to get insured while abroad.

‘We’re going to get married in 2026 in the same place and get married on the beach in Corfu.’

Gareth added: ‘I could’ve easily died that day. I’m never going to forget the evening! Even if it wasn’t what I’d planned.

‘But I’m glad I popped the question before this happened because there was no way of me getting on one knee after!’

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