Essex

Chelmsford bus driver marries passenger after bus stop proposal

Mick Wilson and wife Denise Image copyright Family
Image caption Michael Willson and Denise Ashby married after she proposed to him at a bus stop.

A bus driver has married a former passenger after she proposed to him at a bus stop.

First Essex driver Michael Willson, 44, met Denise Ashby about nine years ago, when she stepped aboard his Chelmsford park and ride bus.

They spoke to each other and became friends. But after two years riding on his bus, Denise moved to Basildon.

When they met again last year, Mr Willson told her how much he had missed her.

Mr Willson, who now drives the X30 Southend to Stansted service, said while he had conversations with most of his customers "there was something different about Denise".

Image copyright Family
Image caption Mr and Mrs Willson at the park and ride bus stop where they first met

"It was just so comfortable to talk to her," he said. "And we ended up very, very good friends."

But when Denise changed jobs and no longer boarded his bus, Mr Willson realised his feelings for her were far more than friendship.

"All of a sudden she was gone," he said. "I was a bit devastated and I tried to reason with myself to the fact I would never see her again."

They bumped into each other again at Chelmsford bus station in March 2014.

Mr Willson initially told the then Ms Ashby he was well and happy. But then he faltered, and told her: "Actually, I'm not fine, I should have told you how I felt about you."

Ms Ashby told Mr Willson she felt the same and they became a couple before Ms Ashby proposed to Mr Willson at the park and ride bus stop where they had first met.

They married at County Hall in Chelmsford, which is near the city's bus station, at the end of January.

They travelled to Norfolk for their honeymoon, not by bus but by train.

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