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Royal Navy Couple Married At Fourth Attempt

The pair finally got married on 5 June after a deployment to Norway and the coronavirus pandemic forced them to cancel previous plans.

A Royal Navy couple who met during basic training have got married at HM Naval Base Portsmouth after having to postpone their plans three times in two years.

With plans to tie the knot in March 2019, Lance Corporal Jake Kennedy and Petty Officer (Nurse) Jo Parke were forced to push back the date after LCpl Kennedy was deployed with the Commando Logistic Regiment for winter training in Norway.

The wedding then found itself in the path of the coronavirus pandemic, which started when LCpl Kennedy was training in Norway again last year.

So, a plan to wed in Italy in 2020 and an attempt in January, with special permission to use the naval base chapel during lockdown, also failed.

To compound the pair's problems, PO Parke's father was involved in a motorbike accident and her grandfather became too ill to travel to the ceremony in Portsmouth.

The bride was given away by Naval Base Commander Commodore JJ Bailey at the ceremony on 5 June.

"We didn't want to wait any longer and both of our families were keen for us to have it formalised,' PO Parke said.

"Jake and I are both so humbled that the Navy have really stepped up for the both of us, in the sense that we are far away from home, family members can't attend, but they have tried to make it really special and actually happen."

With a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury to be married at St Ann's, the pair finally said "I Do", with Navy Chaplain Rev Phillip Amey leading the ceremony.

PO Parke was given away by Naval Base Commander Commodore JJ Bailey after her father was involved in a motorbike accident, while her grandfather was too ill to travel to Portsmouth (Picture: Royal Navy).

LCpl Kennedy said the pair never intended to have a lavish occasion.

"We're very grateful for the chance to have finally been married and are glad to have it made formal," he said.

"The Naval Base Commander also very kindly opened his garden to us following the service, and we are both so grateful for him for agreeing to give Jo away."

The pair met on a chance encounter at HMS Raleigh seven years ago, after Royal Marine recruits spent a week of their basic training there.

Waiting until later this year to tie the knot would have been difficult, as PO Parke will deploy to HMS Queen Elizabeth for the latter part of the Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment.

Many of the intended guests are currently on the CSG 21 deployment and missed the wedding.

PO Parke has also assisted the NHS in critical care at Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital, as well as helping with the vaccine rollout across southern England.

Plans for a honeymoon to New Zealand will have to wait, with the pair both returning to work on Monday, two days after the wedding.

Cover image: Lance Corporal Jake Kennedy and Petty Officer (Nurse) Jo Parke getting married at HM Naval Base Portsmouth (Picture: Royal Navy).