Islanders make ‘hero’s’ dream wedding come true
GENEROUS Islanders got together yesterday to help the charity Holidays for Heroes Jersey hold its first ever wedding for a former serviceman and his partner.
Peter Hyland, a forces veteran from Liverpool who served with the Irish Guards in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, was flown over this week for a holiday in the Island courtesy of the charity.
And the 30-year-old, who suffered physical injury during his military service, tied the knot with his sweetheart, Melissa McKeown (29), in St Clement’s Parish Church yesterday afternoon.
The wedding was organised by the charity’s founders, Dawn and Richard Woodhouse – and dozens of altruistic Islanders pitched in to help.
‘After Peter and Melissa were booked to come over as guests of the charity for a holiday, they said how wonderful it would be if we could be married when we holiday with you in Jersey,’ explained Mr Woodhouse.
‘They had been engaged for seven years. It’s super because although we’ve had three engagements and nearly two heroes’ births in Jersey, we’ve never had a heroes’ wedding before.’
Mrs Woodhouse added: ‘It’s incredible how much the Island has come together to help put this wedding on – people have turned cartwheels for us.’
Jersey Military Vehicle Club drove the couple to the church in a military Jeep and the bikers of Jersey provided a cavalcade of motorcyclists to escort them.
Islander Val Nibbs donated the flowers, Pat-a-Cakes Jersey baked the wedding cake for free and Liberation Group provided the reception drinks with no charge, while Cooks Roses donated the buttonhole brooches.
And Mr Woodhouse said that David Seymour, who runs the Seymour Hotels group, had gifted the newly-weds four nights’ bed and breakfast.
Mrs Woodhouse had the idea for H4HJ after listening to a sermon by the vicar of St Clement’s Parish Church, the Rev Canon David Shaw, during Remembrance Sunday 2007. The Woodhouses then launched the charity on 28 August 2008.
‘For Dawn and me it is groundhog day because Peter and Melissa have now been married by the same man – Rev Shaw – in the same church,’ added Mr Woodhouse.
‘Melissa’s parents flew in for the wedding, their five-year-old son, Alfie, was Peter’s Best Man and their daughter Ella was the bridesmaid.
‘They had to swear in front of the Dean of Jersey earlier this week and they couldn’t get married until they had been in the Island for three full weekdays – who knew!’