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Love shines a light on a festive Valletta night

Bertu Aquilina and Cheryl Tonna’s special moment in front of Palace projections. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Bertu Aquilina and Cheryl Tonna’s special moment in front of Palace projections. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Every Christmas, the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta is lit up with festive animations projected onto the facade, but this year’s light shows also featured one special addition.

When Bertu Aquilina decided the time was right to propose to his girlfriend of 10 years, Cheryl Tonna, he knew he wanted to do something “different and original”. With Valletta being the heart of so much of Maltese history, Mr Aquilina told the Times of Malta, he decided it would also be a suitable setting for an important milestone in his and his partner’s own love story.

When the thought of using the Palace light shows came to mind, he contacted the show organisers at Valletta 2018. The team immediately gave him the go-ahead and helped him sort out visuals and music for the big moment.

He decided it would be suitable for a milestone in their love story

Then when the moment arrived last Thursday night, and with Ms Tonna unaware of what was about to unfold, the couple’s own special show began: first a poem written by Mr Aquilina for the occasion, projected onto the palace with music, and then, finally, the big question: “Cheryl… trid tiżżewwiġni?” (“Cheryl… will you marry me?”)

Champagne, and a photographer to capture the moment, were on hand for the answer, which was exactly what everyone was hoping for. “She was surprised, in a happy way; she definitely wasn’t expecting it,” Mr Aquilina said. “And she said yes.”

The projections were part of an ongoing collaboration between Valletta 2018 and the Mcast Institute for the Creative Arts. They are designed by Graphic Design and Interactive Media students.

This year, the shows ran until the end of December and culminated in a special New Year’s Eve edition, ushering in Valletta’s stint as a European Capital of Culture for 2018.

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