Romantic couple get engaged in Las Vegas after meeting at SERC:

A young couple from Lisburn who met during their studies at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) have recently got engaged.

A decade ago, Anthony Wylie came to SERC where he met the love of his life and now wife to be, Jade Smyth, while they were taking part in the Junior Chef Academy in 2008.

The loved-up duo then enrolled to study levels 1, 2 and 3 in Professional Cookery before progressing to the catering apprenticeship. The duo started dating in 2011.

Anthony spent months preparing to surprise Jade and secretly set out to purpose to her during a trip of a lifetime to the USA in August last year. Anthony, 26, proposed to Jade, 25, after they enjoyed a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon.

Anthony said: “I really wanted to surprise her. I couldn’t have thought of anywhere more perfect to propose to Jade. I was very nervous and couldn’t really relax until I had proposed.” 

Jade said “I was so shocked as I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was so overwhelmed. I’m surprised that I didn’t find the as I usually have to pack and unpack our suitcases so he did a great job at keeping it a secret.”

Anthony and Jade are planning to get married on 9 October 2019 at the award winning Larchfield Estate, Lisburn and SERC is very much at the heart of their big day, with former tutor Ruth Doherty making the very important wedding cake.

Ruth said “It is so exciting to play a small part in their special day and it is lovely to see how happy and successful they have both gone on to be having trained at SERC.”

With professional qualifications under their belts, the former St Patricks Academy pupil Anthony is a Sous Chef at The Lock Keepers Cottage in Belfast and Jade is a Junior Sous Chef at The Merchant Hotel.

Jade said “When I left school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But taking part in the Junior Chef Academy fuelled my appetite for the sector.

“I took part in the Junior Chef Academy in fifth year of school and got to compete at Stormont Buildings in front of Ainsley Harriot and Michael Dean. Meeting my future husband-to-be on the course was a bonus. When I started the course, I quickly became friends with other students in the class. We were a very close-knit group.

“Anthony and I were friends from the beginning. We immediately hit it off and found out we had similar interests” Jade explained.

Jade explains her time at SERC: “We both thoroughly enjoyed the course. It’s a wonderful college and the tutors are very supportive, so much so that we keep in touch with them today.”

Anthony said, “Without the course I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I can’t thank the tutors enough.”

Ken Webb SERC Principal and Chief Executive commented: "It's heartening to hear from former students that college actually provides the best footing for long term success in and out of the workplace. For these fortunate soulmates it has given them memories and relationships to last a lifetime."

For more information please call 0345 600 7555 or visit the college website.

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