The two weddings of the Somerset farmer who fled to Siberia following painful divorce with first wife
New photograph shows Michael Ware on his wedding day with wife Tina12 years after picture was taken they split up in heartbreaking divorce
A devastated Mr Ware then uprooted himself from Exmoor
and moved 4,000 miles to the remote village of Dubinka in SiberiaThe former agricultural contractor is now happily re-married with a new
01:32 GMT, 13 December 2012
With the love of his life on his arm and surrounded by doting family members, Michael Ware looks like any other proud and happy groom.
But the happy scenes witnessed in this photograph with his new wife Tina were to be short lived.
Twelve years after this picture was taken, the couple split up in a painful and heartbreaking divorce.
Trouble ahead: Michael Ware on his first wedding day with ex-wife Tina Baker. The couple are pictured with Michael's family Maurice and Dorothy Ware and Mr and Mrs Baker
Family: The 55-year-old's first three children who he had with first wife Tina Baker are pictured. From left to right are Michelle, Emma and David
Left devastated and heartbroken, Mr Ware, now 55, uprooted himself
from Exmoor and moved 4,000 miles to the remote village of Dubinka in Siberia.
The former agricultural contractor taught himself Russian before leaving the UK –
and 20 years on is happily re-married to Tatiana.
Maurice Ware today told how his heartbroken son went on holiday to
Siberia to get over the failed marriage and stayed — after falling in
love with the place.
Michael has only been back to England twice – the first time six years ago when he introduced his new wife Tatiana and their three children to his dad and late mum Dorothy.
Yesterday Maurice, 87, admitted: 'I knew he was making the right decision. I understood that he just needed to get away from everything here.'
Frail Maurice said his son had adopted the Russian way of life so much his children – Alexander, 18, and Veronika, 16, and stepson Nikolai – speak virtually no English.
Bold: After being left devastated following the break-up of his first marriage, Michael left England for a remote Siberian village. Now, 20 years on, he is happily re-married with a new family. He is pictured on his wedding day with Tatiana
Young: Michael Ware with wife Tatiana and her first child in Siberia
New life: Mr Ware has adopted the Russian way of life so much his children – Alexander, 18, and Veronika, 16, and stepson Nikolai – speak virtually no English
Michael had two daughters and a son by his first marriage but has lost all contact with them since leaving England.
home now is tiny Dubinka which has a population of just 15, lies 50km
from the nearest road and where temperatures have plunged to minus 45C.
Maurice, who also has a daughter Angela living in Devon, has never made the arduous trip to Siberia where his son ekes out a living tending sheep, cows, chickens and pigs.
He said: 'Michael was a very private person and didn't like to talk about his feelings but I could see in his face he was devastated about his marriage.
'Tina was the love of his life and I thought that they had been very happily married.'
Happy: Michael Ware, 55, uprooted himself from Exmoor and moved 4,000 miles to the remote village of Dubinka after splitting up with his wife of 12 years. He is pictured with new wife Tanya and children Veronika , right, and Alexander, left
Michael Ware's fellow villagers say they can no longer tell him apart from anyone else
Content: Mr Ware says he loves 'beautiful' Siberia for its long winter, mild summer and fresh air
was an awful time. He wasn't able to see his kids for a while and he
felt really low. He then went on a holiday to Siberia to get away from
Speaking out: Maurice, who also has a daughter Angela living in Devon, has never made the arduous trip to Siberia to see his son
'He grew up on a farm and was fascinated by machinery and different farming methods.
'He read about the way they do things over there and wanted to find out about it himself.
'When he came back, he said he'd fallen in love with the place and was going to live there permanently.'
Michael's announcement came as a big shock to his mum Dorothy who passed away last year.
Maurice, who still lives at Watchet on the edge of Exmoor, said: 'She was worried about him going all that way on his own and he is our only son so she was sad to say goodbye.
'But I wasn't worried about him. He's a big strong lad and I knew he was making the right decision.
'I understood that he just needed to get away from everything here.
'Siberia seems like an odd place to emigrate but he just loved the old fashioned way of doing things there.
'Six months before he left he bought some teach yourself Russian tapes and started to learn the language.'
Michael met his wife Tatiana, 37, just a few months after arriving in his new homeland.
They married quickly and Michael adopted her son Nikolai before having two children of their own and a third is now on the way.
His father added: 'His new wife seems lovely – he's done very well for himself.
'She and the children don't speak much English, but it was nice to be able to meet them face-to-face rather than just in photos.
'I'm so pleased to hear that he has carved out a life for himself there and that he is happy.
Isolated: Michael Ware, 55, lives in Siberia
with Russian wife Tatiana in a tiny village that is inaccessible for
most of the year
New life: Mr Ware, pictured with Alexander and
Veronika when they were younger, kept his Royal Mail woolly hat as one
of the only vestiges of his life in England
Mr Ware adopted his second wife's son Nikolai
from her first marriage. At 19 he has just completed his conscription in
the Russian army
'My only regret is that I wish I'd
gone out to see him when I was a bit younger – but Dorothy had a fear of
flying so we never did.
think I would have loved it as much as he does. The cold never bothered
me and I would have loved to see his farm and to help him with the
'I had a 57-acre farm myself which Michael grew up on so he will definitely know what he's doing.
'Perhaps I'll still make it out there, you never know.
'Until then, we speak on the phone every month or so. It's always good to hear his voice.
'He might speak Russian now but he still sounds exactly the same to me.
'I'm certainly very proud of him and I'm sure his mother would be too.'
Michael signed up for Siberia when he joined a group of UK farmers exploring opportunities in post-Communist Russia in 1992.
The other nine in the group got cold feet and came back to Britain – but Michael was the only one to stay.
He told the Siberian Times: 'I have no regrets. Siberia is beautiful.
'We have a long winter and lots of sunshine and a nice mild summer.
'There's plenty of fresh air and many beautiful places.
Part of the scenery: The remote village has only
15 inhabitants, who say they can no longer see any difference between
themselves and the Englishman
Change of scene: It has now been 20 years since
Mr Ware fled Exmoor for the far-flung village of Dubinka, three
time-zones east of Moscow
Escape: The farmer, pictured on the road to
Dubinka, says his only sorrow is that he has lost contact with his three
children from his first marriage
'In winter our days can last until midnight and there's plenty to do, shovelling snow, cutting firewood and looking after the animals.
'The only free days I get are if I am sick.'
He added: 'Nobody can change their own blood. I'll always be an Englishman, but now Siberia is my home.'