We Are Essex

Shaaba and Jamie’s story

Photo of Shaaba and Jamie

"She was jumping up and down when I got on one knee."


She was just jumping up and down when I got down on one knee. It took a lot of planning. I wanted it to be somewhere special to both of us. I’ve been coming to campus since I was three because my Mum works here. We were both undergraduates here too, so we kind of grew up here together. We also still do a lot of work with the LGBT+ community on campus and I’m doing my PhD at the moment focusing on the development and well-being of people who are transgender. Shaaba also works here now, so there was nowhere better.


Honestly I had no idea! He was being so cute, but he tends to be cute anyway. The number 17 is a special number for me, and for two months he kept doing cute things on the 17th of the month. I just thought he was being a good boyfriend. He took me round places which meant something to us, like the train station and our old house. The last place was between the lakes on campus and he presented me with a little card. It said ‘the University is our second home, our home away from home’, which it really is. And then he just produced a ring! I cried and was so not expecting it. Jamie secretly filmed it all too so we have those memories to look back on. And he had a camera on the ring box as well. It was very cool, he did a great job.

The first thing I wanted to do was tell my family and friends, then all of a sudden they were there, cheering from across the lake. They had been hiding in the bushes watching! That made me really happy because I’ve struggled in the past to get all of my family members together. It was so special that Jamie managed to do that.


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