Their love still intact

By Olivia Duffey

Luke Hodgson proposed to his partner of two years at the unofficial ‘love bridge’ in the Waring Gardens in February this year.

Mr Hodgson used a lock engraved with ‘Chloe will you marry me?’ to carry out the beautiful proposal. She said yes.

Hearing news the foot bridge would be removed as part of the Waring Garden revitalisation project, he knew he had to retrieve their special lock.

‘‘The first thought that came to my mind when my mum, who lives in Deniliquin, told me the bridge was being removed was that I can’t lose this lock,’’ Mr Hodgson said.

‘‘I almost drove three hours there and three hours back just to get it.

‘‘Mum said she could get it off with some bolt cutters, but I said no because I didn’t want to destroy the lock.

‘‘Chloe and I each have a key we carry around with us, so I immediately posted my key to mum.’’

Mr Hodgson’s mother, Trish Laurens, said the key didn’t arrive until Wednesday last week.

She thought it might be too late after being told the bridge had already been pulled down.

‘‘I rushed over when I heard it had been pulled down and waved someone down to help me retrieve this lock,’’ she said.

‘‘Gerry (Corrigan) was amazing and helped me straight away, but we couldn’t get the lock off because of all the rust.

‘‘He told me to come back at 10am the next day and he’d be sitting there with the lock.

‘‘He did manage to get it off. I am so relieved and happy because it is so important to our family.’’

Gerry Corrigan (right) hands the lock over to Luke's mother Trish Laurens.

The family has been coming to Deniliquin several times a year ‘‘for generations’’, and Mr Hodgson said his best childhood memories are here.

‘‘That is what made the proposal so special,’’ he said.

‘‘I have always loved the Waring Gardens, so I took Chloe there and she just fell in love with the park.

‘‘We were walking across the bridge and she saw the locks and said ‘we will have to do one of these’.

‘‘It was about a year later when I had bought the ring, and I was wanting to propose but unsure about where or how to do that.

‘‘So I came to Deniliquin to clear my head and get out of Melbourne. 

‘‘I was walking in the gardens and the memory of Chloe on the bridge replayed in my head, and I knew I had to get a lock engraved asking Chloe to marry me.’’

The couple are hoping to relocate the lock to a different location within the gardens.

‘‘We want to get married in the Waring Gardens so we would like to find a new home for the lock at the garden that is not going to inconvenience council,’’ Mr Hodgson said.

‘‘It is a shame it is not on the bridge any more, but as long as it is in the park where I proposed and where we plan to get married, then I will be happy.

‘‘I am just so grateful we have been able to save this lock.

‘‘Deniliquin will always be special to us and has always been my second home, so the plan is to become residents and settle down in Deniliquin.’’