Arbigland museum venue
A retired US Navy commander and his fiancée travelled almost half-way round the world to wed at the weekend at the birthplace of his Solway born boyhood hero John Paul Jones.
Jim Poole and Monique Najafi made the journey from San Diego in California to the little cottage at Arbigland where they took their vows before a registrar and 40 guests who had also travelled from the US, Germany, Spain and France.
Jim, 64, said: “This has been just something special for me and for Monique … I can hardly believe it has happened.”
Monique, also 64, added: “It has been so wonderful – a real fairytale wedding.”
The couple had visited the cottage for the first time last year when Jim decided to propose in the very room where John Paul Jones, the man acknowledged as the father of the US Navy, was brought up.
Jim said: “I first read about John Paul Jones and his exploits in the American Revolutionary War when I bought my first book when I was about five.
“I simply became fascinated with his life story and it is something that has stayed with me and influenced my life in every way – even leading me to the US Naval Academy and a career in the navy.
“From the moment I met Monique she too started to take an interest and it just seemed we were under an amazing spell.”
Jim even has a little museum in his home tracing the exploits of John Paul Jones from his childhood in Scotland through to his famous battle off Flamborough Head where he turned what looked like defeat to victory over a superior British warship and made famous the words “Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight”.
It is the first wedding to be held at the cottage – now a museum.
Jim added: “Monique started to share my interest almost immediately and we thought it would be just wonderful to get married there. I’ve had a lot of great moments in my life but this is the greatest and the happiest and it’s all due to John Paul Jones.”
Jones, who was born in the cottage in 1747, became the first well-known naval commander in the American Revolutionary War and later became a rear admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy.
Happy couple Jim Poole and his wife Monique