A former Melton man’s wedding went ahead on Saturday in Jakarta less than 48 hours after a deadly Isis-led terrorist attack brought the centre of the Indonesian capital on the island of Java to a standstill.
Eight people, including four civilians, were killed and more than 20 wounded after the assaults by suicide bombers and gunmen in bustling central Jakarta on Thursday.
Peter Whitfield (25) and his bride Chrestella Tan (24) had spent more than a year planning and organising the ceremony at St Theresia Roman Catholic Church and reception at an international hotel in the heart of Jakarta.
Melton born Peter, a former pupil of St Francis School and De Lisle Catholic Science College who studied biology at University of Hull, has been in Jakarta for almost three years working as an English teacher at a school called BPK Penabur.
He met his bride, Stella, who works at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, out there and the couple had been planning their big day for more than a year.
Peter’s parents, Glen Giles and Grace Whitfield, and their partners along with his brother, Daniel Giles, had flown out to Jakarta a couple of days before the terrorist attack.
Family back home in Melton were deeply concerned when news of the attack broke on Thursday morning because they knew it was in the area where the ceremony was due to take place and where they were staying.
Grandfather Brian Johnson, former Melton Times deputy editor, and his wife, Lilian, spent a worrying few of hours trying to make contact with him and his father via Messenger and Whatsap before getting the news all was okay.
Peter told his grandfather that his dad and partner were in a hotel - a stone’s throw from the explosions - and were safe although confined there for most of that day.
Once initial concerns over security and safety had been overcome life in the heart of Jakarta settled down and the wedding went ahead as planned.
Peter said: “All was good. The day and evening were perfect and we couldn’t believe the numbers of people who turned out for us after fears people wouldn’t travel.
“I married an amazing woman who I am proud to call my wife. We celebrated with close friends and family and at the same time we sent a big message to those who would want to stop such events from taking place.
“All in all I’d call that an incredible event. We can only hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.”
Bride Stella said: “It was a perfect day filled with love and laughs from close family and friends. We chose our wedding venue at the heart of Jakarta simply for the ease of our guests.
“I’d never expect that such terror would happen right around there, two days before the big day. It was awful and with families coming over, it also created worries and fears for the people left back home.”