When Jerome Anthony donned a penguin suit and got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend, she predictably called him a “nutter”.

Fortunately Claire Tutton, surrounded by her colleagues at a Halstead salon, also said yes.

Jerome, 37, and Claire, had been pals for years before becoming a couple three years ago.

Last year Jerome, of Sible Hedingham, asked her dad for his blessing.

But he said: “The year has been quite hectic so I hadn’t got round to asking her.

“I asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she said either a new front door or a ring.

“I asked which she would prefer and she said ‘both’.”

Jerome decided to surprise her while she was working at Dales Hair Salon, in High Street, Halstead.

The landscaper and part-time musician said: “I dressed up as a penguin as she likes them.

“I bought a suit from eBay and pretended I was from Save the Penguins.

“I made a badge with my penguin name on it – S Peckington – and made a bucket for donations.

“When I got to the hairdressers, I approached Dale the owner first and he said he was really busy and they weren’t sure if anyone wanted to donate.

“I walked up to Claire.

“I had some tissue in my mouth to make my voice different.

“I took the head off and got down on one knee and the ring was in the bucket.

“She said: ‘Oh my God, you’re a nutter’. Then she said ‘yes’.

“She was completely shocked – I hadn’t told anyone except for her parents, who then came in with champagne and glasses for everyone.”