When an English village asked the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates to help pay for a community center—in England—strangely enough, he agreed to it! And the reason has something to do with the long history of his prized race horses.
This chapel was the perfect building for a new community center in the small English village.
The village of Godolphin Cross in Cornwall had been trying to raise money to buy the local methodist church that they hoped to convert into a permanent community center. As much as they hoped to purchase the building, however, it seemed impossible that they would raise the needed real estate sum of $115,000.
Fortunately, the village had a historic connection to the Arab Prime Minister and his passion for horse racing.
The Arab Prime Minister, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, is the head of a horse racing empire, and every single one of his prize horses are believed to be descended directly from the Godolphin Arabian, a very famous horse bred in that same English village in 1724.
The Arabian stallion is believed to have been from the Middle East, but eventually made his way to England, where he sired many notable horses. The champion racehorse Seabiscuit, whose true story was made into a major Hollywood film, was descended from the Godolphin Arabian.
To the English village’s surprise, the Prime Minister responded and agreed to offer financial support.
According to Cornwall Live, “This is amazing for us, and it meant we were able to make an offer. It’s been verbally accepted and we are just waiting for the solicitors now to do their work. This will allow us to turn the chapel into a proper community hub,” said association chairman Richard McKie.
“We can’t thank Sheikh Mohammed enough and we’d love to see him in this neck of the woods any time. He would be assured of a very warm welcome.”
“I think this shows that he’s interested in the history and values this Cornish link. He has put his money to help a community staring down the barrel of having nowhere to go for community events. We are thinking of using part of the chapel to explain about the link.”
He said: “These kinds of things don’t normally happen. It’s a fairytale, really. It’s not often a sheikh steps in to help a Cornish village.”