THEIR marriage in 1969 is believed to have led to York’s first Hindu wedding ceremony – now an Indian couple have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary by returning to the ceremony’s venue.

Janti and Ranjan Chauhan hit the headlines in the then Yorkshire Evening Press in July 1969, which ran with an article headed: ‘Colourful Indian wedding is first in York.’

The story said they were married at York Register Office as a prelude to a Hindu ceremony at Fulford Social Hall in Heslington Lane.

Now the couple, who live in Brayton, near Selby, have gone back to the hall to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and retake their vows with a Hindu priest -but without having any idea beforehand what was going to happen.

Their daughter, Minaxi Chauhan-Challis, who organised the surprise celebration, said she just told her father to wear his best suit and her mother to wear her best sari, and a vintage Rolls Royce turned up at their home to take them to York.

“They were absolutely stunned,” she said. “My father loves old cars but had never been in one like this before.”

About 60 family members and friends greeted them at the hall, throwing biodegradable confetti over them before they entered the hall with a blessing from the priest and Minaxi.

“The celebrations went very well,” she said. “They are still shocked and absolutely overwhelmed by it. They were very touched.”

She said her father’s family had settled in Bradford after arriving in the UK, while her mother’s family had settled in York.

“My grandfather opened the first Indian restaurant in York on Colliergate, which is now the Post Office. My father and mother years later opened a restaurant in Walmgate, which then led onto my father to cook on BBC Radio York.”

She said her parents, who had another daughter, Sanita, who lives in America, had raised money for various charities over the years through cooking events.

Minaxi said this had led to her creating a very successful gujarati cooking business in Devon, Samosa Lady. “All of this started in York,” she added.