A YOUNG Wigan couple’s dream marriage plans have been saved from the brink of disaster.
Gareth Howlett and Stacey Corless thought all was lost after the bombshell discovery that the people running the hotel hosting their reception had gone bust.
The pair had months ago forked out more than £2,500 for a three-course wedding breakfast and evening do at the Bellingham Hotel in Wigan Lane.
However, just days after all but settling the bill, they were given the shock news that the leassees had gone into administration and had left the hotel.
Gareth, a 22-year-old security firm dog handler, and his 24-year-old bride-to-be were faced with the nigh impossible prospect of either finding another £2,700 or calling off the July 2 nuptials.
But they had not reckoned on the new managers of the Bellingham, Susan and John Freeman-Fielding. They, without any legal obligation to do so, have agreed to waive a new charge despite the events leaving them seriously out of pocket.
Stacey, from Marsh Green, and Hindley lad Gareth today gave their heartfelt thanks to the bosses for their generosity.
Gareth said: “It is a fantastic gesture that has saved our big day. The Freeman-Fieldings didn’t have to do this because they didn’t have any of our money. They were well within their rights to say ‘sorry, but this isn’t our problem,’ but they didn’t, and for that we are eternally grateful.
“By the time we came to paying the bulk of the costs on January 7, there were new people in charge at the Bellingham but we were reassured that everything would be fine. Then just a few days later I phoned the hotel to finalise some details and discovered that those same leassees had suddenly disappeared, so had our money and that the new people didn’t know anything about our having almost paid up.
“We were shocked and horrified. We could not believe that the previous managers had the face to do that. They must have known they were about to go under and yet they took our cash. We had receipts showing we had paid all but £186 of the bill but from a legal standpoint that didn’t really matter.
“But after meeting Mr and Mrs Freeman-Fielding, they very kindly agreed to waive a repeat charge so all we have had to pay is the outstanding £186.”
It emerged today that the Freeman-Fieldings had already agreed, in taking over the Bellingham, to honour the vanished deposits on a couple of dozen wedding receptions. Indeed several have already taken place.
Mr Freeman-Fielding said: “That did come as a bit of a shock, but we said we would honour it.
“We could not just stand by and see Gareth and Stacey lose their wedding or have to pay up again.
“It has left us massively out of pocket but hopefully we will have some good bar takings to make up for some of it!”