Irving’s wedding: ‘the best day of my life’

Mr and Mrs Irving enter their wedding reception.

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Continued from page one:

Exclusive words and pictures by Mark Davey

In the next four years, Yvonne galvanised support for Billy’s release, organised an online petition of nearly half a million signatures, met politicians in Downing Street, appeared on television as well as making numerous trips to India.

Until the 2016 trial which saw Billy sentenced to five years in prison, he was held on house arrest and during one of these visits their son William, 3, was conceived.

While in house arrest and thinking about the day he would eventually marry Yvonne, Billy used an online designing programme to amalgamate the Irving and MacHugh tartans.

Later in prison, the musician who learned to play the pipes while at Campbeltown Grammar School, managed to get hold of a guitar and composed ‘First Dance.’

Before the weeding he sent it to Angus MacPhail of Skipinnish and Billy heard the completed song for the first time as he took to the dance-floor with Yvonne.

Back in 2011 the love-struck pair knew nothing of what was to come.

Yvonne said: ‘We both lived in Glasgow at the time but there was no contact for four weeks.

‘We met again by chance at a Skerryvore gig in Glasgow and afterwards became inseparable.

‘Billy asked me out to the Park bar, he said that it was just a drink but any girl would class that as a date.

‘When Billy first became involved in maritime security I thought he was making it up.

‘He was away for about two months and when he came back he took me to France to meet his parents.

‘We moved in together and because Billy loves Argyll we moved to Connel just before his fateful trip.’

Billy said: ‘My military background has helped me through but I was most concerned about Yvonne and William as I could not control anything of what they faced.

‘In prison we received cards and letters, from friends and family, that meant so much to us.

‘There are some people in the similar or worse situations who have no-one backing them up.’

None of the other five of the Chennai Six – Nick Dunn, John Armstrong, Nicholas Simpson, Ray Tindall and Paul Towers – were able to attend the wedding, but John Armstrong’s sister, Joanne Tomlinson, made it to Paisley.

Preparations for the wedding have been extensive including Yvonne’s mother Janette using Billy’s design for his wedding outfit, her grandson William’s trews and waistcoat and altering Yvonne and the bridesmaids, Jacquelynn and Lindsay’s dresses.

Sheena Martin from Campbeltown made a traditional three tier cake with  sponge layers of coconut and lime and passion fruit and a bottom layer of traditional fruit.

As guests arrived at the church, including 28 from Kintyre, they were handed orders of service by ushers from Campbeltown, Shaun McDaniel and Iain Martin.

Outside, as Yvonne stepped out of a Bentley in bright spring sunshine, a pair of Campbeltown pipers, Mark McCormick, 26, and Alan McCormick, 24, both taught by Billy, played.

Janette gave Yvonne away and best men were Billy’s brothers, former marine Jamie, 42 and Colin, 41, who is a Royal Engineers’ sergeant-major.

The service was conducted by Canon Edward Cameron with readings from Katie Mary MacNeill and Julia MacIssac.

As Yvonne and Billy left the church the pipers played ‘Mairis Wedding.’

After a drinks reception in the hall next to the church the whole party walked down the road to the St Peter’s Working Men’s Club where a meal included choices of baked chicken or steak.

Speeches, by Yvonne’s brother Phil MacHugh – a former BBC Gaelic presenter, Billy and his best men  were made before the meal.

Among many reminiscences Phil recounted how Yvonne, a Gaelic speaker, once told Hearts owner, Vladimir Romanov, he was an a******* in Gaelic and he wished her all the best in Russian.

Phil said: ‘When Billy got a major starring role in a Bollywood movie, the true hero was my sister.

‘Yvonne showed courage, willpower, strength and determination to bring back Billy.’

He added that Yvonne’s strong stance was a result of their upbringing by Janette who taught them to ‘stand strong and never give up.’

‘Yvonne I am so proud of you, you look absolutely stunning,’ Phil said, ‘Billy I am delighted to welcome you into our family.’

Writing to friends on Monday Yvonne said: ‘On Saturday I married my prince and can honestly say it was the best day of my life.’

Billy and Yvonne Irving with their son William and all their wedding guests. 25_c13irving149

Mr and Mrs Irving process down the aisle. 25_c13irving143

Billy signs the marriage certificate watched by bridesmaid Jacquelynn MacHugh, Yvonne and Canon Edward Cameron. 25_c13irving134

Yvonne signs the marriage certificate. 25_c13irving132

Yvonne and her bridesmaids during preparations. 25_c13irving88

The first dance as Skipinnish play Billy’s song First Dance. 25_c13irving40

Yvonne MacHugh was given away by her mum Janette MacHugh right. 25_c13irving22

Pictures were projected on a screen by Jamie Irving this one shows Billy as a young piper in Campbeltown. 25_c13irving48

Billy and Yvonne cut their wedding cake. 25_c13irving69

Left to right are Yvonne’s mum Janette MacHugh, bridesmaids Lindsay MacDonald and Jacquelynn MacHugh, Phil MacHugh, Yvonne and Billy Irving, Colin Irving, Margaret Irving, Jamie Irving, Jim Irving and Canon Edward Cameron. 25_c13irving138

Bridesmaids Lindsay MacDonald, 29 and Jacquelynn MacHugh, 27. 25_c13irving36

The two pipers, Mark and Alan McCormick, Phil Machugh and two friends. 25_c13irving97