THERE was more than just the aroma of coffee in the air when a romantic man dropped to one knee in Costa to surprise his partner with an engagement ring.

Peter Crowe's surprise public marriage proposal to Michelle Mills caused a stir with customers yesterday (Monday) at Costa Coffee, St Martin's Quarter, Worcester - where the couple first met.

After getting on one knee, the 40-year-old asked Miss Mills "do you think you would be interested in marrying me?" and was over the moon when she said yes.

Clapping erupted from the cafe's other customers and they were presented with their favourite coffees - a medium skinny mocha and a medium cappuccino - as well as a card from staff.

Miss Mills, who moved to Warndon with Mr Crowe in April, said: "Everyone was really excited for us and just started clapping.

"I had no idea whatsoever. It was really, really nice and such a surprise.

"The staff have seen our relationship progress since we first met at the cafe.

"I just love Pete so much. He's quite spontaneous but he doesn't like a lot of attention so I think he thought that it would mean a lot to do it where we first met."

Instead of steaming ahead, Mr Crowe, a flexographic printer, spent a month planning the surprise and together with manager Dawn Brown hatched a plan that when Miss Mills, aged 43, returned from the toilet she would turn the music down and he would propose.

He said: "I was really, really nervous.

"When Michelle left the table, Dawn went around the customers to tell them what was about to happen so when Michelle returned everyone was staring.

"I was so nervous I nearly didn't go through with it - I'm just so glad she said yes.

"Michelle accepts me for me, she didn't want or expect anything from me.

"After the first five minutes when we met I knew she was someone special who I wanted in my life."

The couple met at the coffee shop in October when Miss Mills asked if she could sit with Mr Crowe because there were no other tables available.

The pair immediately hit it off and enjoyed a walk along the riverside together that day before swapping phone numbers.

They visit the branch next to Asda at least twice a week and are even considering holding the reception of their small wedding at the coffee shop.

Mrs Brown, the cafe's manager, said: "I've worked for Costa for seven years and I've never had anything like that happen before.

"We are all so happy for them - it was lovely for everybody to watch."

Mr Crowe and Miss Mills are now busy planning their big day which they hope to hold in the spring next year.