Pair to wed whose young love blossomed at The Orchards


Two children who had stars in their eyes after meeting on an Isle of Wight holiday park almost 20 years ago made a return visit to the island recently.

But shortly after pitching up at The Orchards in Newbridge, it became clear that this was going to be more than just a stroll down memory lane for the couple.

That’s because Rachel Hughes’ childhood sweetheart, Jonathan Palmer, had brought with him not only a tent and cooking stove, but also a proposal of marriage.

The couple had met as 12-year-olds while on holiday with their families at The Orchards – and it was beside the park’s heated outdoor pool that they had exchanged their first kiss.

Rachel proudly shows the ring marking their engagement
Rachel proudly shows the ring marking their engagement

In readiness for popping the question, Jonathan had strewn the pool with crimson roses, organised a pianist and singer, and engaged a local professional photo be present.

After leading Rachel to the delight of other holiday guests present –  he went down on one knee – and received just the answer for which he’d been hoping!

Following their first meeting, Rachel and Jonathan’s families joined up for subsequent holidays at the park, and the pair’s love affair blossomed.

When they were old enough, they began going away for camping trips without their mums and dads, and eventually moved in town of Bedford.

Now both aged 30, their next visit to a pool, some petals, and a proposal.

Co-owner of The Orchards Julie Gray said that it was a perfectly executed plan, and one which she and her husband Tim had known about in advance:

“We were thrilled when we heard of Jonathan’s idea and gave him all the help we could – but, of course, we could only cross our fingers that Rachel would say yes,” said Julie.

“We’re so delighted that The Orchards was able tory had such a happy fairy tale ending!” she added.

Julie and Tim acquired the park 15 years ago and have since gathered a raft of awards for its high standards. There is more information about The Orchards at