Sep 7 2012 by Lorraine Howard, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
IRVINE husband and wife duo Annie and Jim Montgomery love their job so much they decided to renew their vows in the bar.
The publicans who own The Harbour Lights and The Keys in Irvine have proved love conquers all – they have both survived strokes and life in wheelchairs to now own the two busy harbourside pubs.
And to show his love for his wife, Jim, 48, surprised Annie with a party to renew their wedding vows – at their beloved pub.
The couple who already ran The Keys decided to take over The Harbour Lights – the very pub where Annie, 60, had suffered her stroke eight years ago.
Annie said: “I was standing at the bar when I felt funny, looked in the mirror and noticed my face had almost slipped down the way. I said to Jim something wasn’t right and we worked out I had suffered a stroke.
“I ended up in a wheelchair and was told I may not walk again. But it didn’t stop me and I amazed everyone, including myself, with the love and support of Jim, to walk again.”
The couple took on The Keys last year and on Monday took over The Harbour Lights, the pub which she had dreamt of running.
But it wasn’t just Annie who suffered ill health as Jim also ended up in a wheelchair after he suffered a stroke. The keen bodybuilder said: “I suffered two strokes and was told I would have to stay in the wheelchair.
“It took two years of physio and telling myself I could walk again before I made it out of that chair. Every day I am grateful that I can train and work.
“We took over the pub and knew it would be a lot of work but we want to make this a great place to eat, drink and be entertained.”
When the couple decided to take over The Harbour Lights, Jim wanted to make it a special time for his wife of six years.
He arranged a surprise wedding ceremony and party at The Keys, complete with a fancy dress for Annie and a horse and cart to take a romantic trip around the harbour.
Annie said; “It has been a wonderful year.
“It’s all about team work and Jim and I love and support each other in everything.”
The couple plan a series of live music sessions at The Keys this month – look out for details in The Irvine Herald.
Look out next week for our special feature on one of Irvine’s oldest pubs, The Porthead Tavern.