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Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

This Year's Love Story...(so far)

The love story of the year so far is this one:

Here comes the pride!
Published: 04 Apr 2011
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STANDING proudly at the front of the chapel, Rifleman Paul Jacobs turns to greet his beautiful bride in front of 130 family and friends.
It is a significant moment for any groom, but Paul's wedding on Saturday was even more emotionally charged than most.

The 22-year-old, who was awarded a George Medal for bravery, will never see his new wife Louise.

For Paul was blinded by a Taliban bomb blast while trying to recover a colleague's body in Afghanistan - and Louise was the healthcare assistant who tenderly helped him at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital.

Louise, 25, fought back tears as she said: "I'm so proud of Paul and everything he's achieved. I know he'll never be able to see me but that's not something I think about. I look past the disability and see Paul as my husband, just like anyone else.

"Now I can't wait to start our lives together."

The couple tied the knot at the stunning 16th Century Grafton Manor in Bromsgrove, Worcs.

After an intimate civil ceremony in the stately home's library, they exchanged rings in a blessing in its chapel.

Chart star Des'ree was so moved by the couple's story that she made her first public appearance in ten years to serenade guests with her song You Gotta Be.
She performed the hit - one of the couple's favourites - as Louise's proud dad Peter Smith walked her down the aisle.

And there was barely a dry eye as the couple exchanged their heartfelt vows.

The Sun wanted to help the bride have the day she deserved, and family were driven to the ceremony in a gleaming £275,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Louise was delighted to see a tower of her favourite strawberry and vanilla cupcakes as the centrepiece of the wedding marquee, which had been decked out with stunning pink and white flowers.

And the bride was treated like a princess when Sun royal photographer Arthur Edwards - who will be on duty at the Royal Wedding this month - captured her special day.

The couple will enjoy a luxury honeymoon at a boutique hotel in New York, complete with business-class flights.

Louise said: "The last 12 months have been a whirlwind but the wedding was something we both really wanted to do."

Paul was five months into his first tour of Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion The Rifles in August 2009, leading a patrol up an isolated alleyway in the Upper Sangin Valley, when an enormous explosion from a hidden bomb killed a colleague.

A second blast killed another British soldier and seriously injured Paul, who lost his right eye and was blinded in his left.

Despite his injuries Paul, from Lambeth, south-east London, cleared a safe route then dragged himself on to it so no more of his mates would be injured rescuing him.

He said: "I don't remember anything about the explosion, but I'm told I was in a coma for three weeks afterwards."

His "sheer personal courage and startling determination" saw him awarded the George Medal in March last year - with Louise at his side. Louise, from Stourbridge, West Mids, said: "I was so proud of him, his courage and his determination are just amazing."

The couple met while Louise tended Paul as well as several other wounded servicemen at Selly Oak.

Paul said: "I first remember speaking to Louise when we went on a trip to the pub organised by the ward welfare officer.

"At that point I didn't really know her at all, it all came afterwards."

Louise recalled: "We see all the patients on a daily basis and I chatted to Paul like I did to everyone.

"Nothing happened between us until we bumped into each other on a night out in Birmingham after he'd been discharged.

"He'd come up to see friends for a few drinks and I was out with my friends. I remembered him and we swapped numbers. Then I went down to London to see him and things went from there.

"A lot of things attracted me to Paul. We got on really well as friends first and he makes me laugh a lot."

Paul proposed in February last year, on Louise's birthday, after first calling her parents to ask their permission.

"I chose a ring with three diamonds, symbolising past, present and future and then got down on one knee," he said.

Since the moving story of their romance hit the headlines the couple have received supportive letters and emails from as far away as Australia. Paul said: "It really helps to know that people we have never met are supporting us."

The newlyweds have recently bought a house in Louise's home town and are busy decorating and making it their own.

Paul, who joined the Army at 18 after training as both a car mechanic and a bricklayer, said: "The Army was my whole world, I loved it. It's not for everyone but it was my life.

"My colleagues are heading back to Afghanistan in the next couple of weeks and despite what's happened I wish I was going with them."

Instead Paul is dedicating his time to raising money for St Dunstan's, an Armed Forces charity that helps ex-servicemen who have lost their sight. Paul climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania a few weeks ago for the charity, along with his father-in-law Peter, 49, raising more than £5,500. He wants to reach £8,000 with even more extreme challenges.

He said: "I want to swim the English Channel and in the next five years I'll climb Mount Everest.

"I keep my chin up and I live life to the full. You can get through anything that happens in life with that attitude.

Louise added: "As a team I know we can deal with anything life throws at us."