The Rt Hon William Hague, Conservative MP for Richmond, North Yorkshire, shared the story at an intimate gathering moments before he unveiled a plaque to mark the official reopening of the much-loved village pub.
He also revealed that he once spent much time at The Black Bull Inn with his “great friend” Lord Sebastian Coe, most recently famed for bringing the 2012 Olympics to London.
The pub, once renowned for its seafood, closed in 2012.
It has been brought back to life thanks to a significant investment from the prestigious North Yorkshire-based Provenance Inns group, owned by Chris Blundell and Michael Ibbotson.
Mr Hague MP said:
“I am very excited about the reopening of The Black Bull.
“Many thousands of people in this area and beyond will have very fond memories of this place and it is wonderful to see how it has been transformed for the future with brilliant interior design.
“Many years ago, I used to come here a lot. In fact somewhere in that corridor in the old configuration is where I proposed to my wife on the 21 February 1997.
“There used to be a table with curtains around it, and that is where we were – although it nearly didn’t happen when someone joined our table for rather longer than I would have perhaps liked.”
Mr Blundell thanked Mr Hague for taking time out to revisit and reopen The Black Bull Inn.
“Often the demise of the village Inn is talked about.
“Even this week CAMRA talked about 38 pubs closing every week – a trend that’s been happening for 10 years.
“But in the right position, with the right investment, the village inn can be a really important addition to the local community.
“We will be developing 16 guest rooms that will give us a business model to make us successful for the future.”