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Birthday surprise for Karen

PUBLISHED: 05:42 26 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

DEVOTION was delivered by the cart load when love-struck Barrie Harris arranged a special treat for his wife Karen's 40th birthday.

Karen, a dental technician in Halesworth, had always wanted to see the Adnams dray delivering casks of beer round Southwold, so she could not believe her luck when she was told she was going to have a ride round town on one.

DEVOTION was delivered by the cart load when love-struck Barrie Harris arranged a special treat for his wife Karen's 40th birthday.

Karen, a dental technician in Halesworth, had always wanted to see the Adnams dray delivering casks of beer round Southwold, so she could not believe her luck when she was told she was going to have a ride round town on one.

"I thought he was planning a balloon ride and I was really worried," she said. "I hate heights. But this was brilliant. I'd have been happy just to see it but experiencing it was just absolutely brilliant."

The couple from Beccles often visit Southwold for a stroll along the beach or a glass of beer, and a chance remark by Karen one day that she had never seen the Adnams dray on the streets, gave Barrie the idea for a birthday treat.

He contacted Adnams who agreed to give Karen a turn round the town with head horseman Chris Orchard in the driving seat and gentle giant Prince, a 22 year old Percheron, between the shafts.

"The kids – Michelle, 18, and Jody, 14 – and I have had a rough time keeping it secret over the last few days," said Barrie.

"She really didn't want to go in a balloon, so I had to tell her last night it was something different because she just wasn't able to get to sleep."

"He told me to be ready because we were going out at 9am but I had no idea what he was up to," said Karen.

When she arrived at the stables tucked behind the Market Place in Southwold she was thrilled – and somewhat relieved.

She helped to harness up Prince, who then trotted steadily down East Street, along the seafront, round behind the brewery and back along the High Street, a route he's taken for 18 years delivering ale to the town's pubs and hotels.

Now Karen is planning how to celebrate Barrie's fiftieth, although she's still got a few years to come up with some bright ideas.


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