‘Fairy­tale wed­ding’

Ar­bigland mu­seum venue

The Galloway News - - FARMING - Bert Hous­ton

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

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