Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

HEARTACHE; Wedding Plans in Tatters as Hotel Closes: Doubleblow for Wedding Couple

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

HEARTACHE; Wedding Plans in Tatters as Hotel Closes: Doubleblow for Wedding Couple

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE BLACKBURN

A DEVASTATED young couple have less than six weeks to find a new venue for their wedding reception after the sudden closure of Stockton's Swallow Hotel.

Melanie Howe, from Thornaby, thought fiance Andrew Hobson was joking when he sent her a text on Monday to say he'd heard the hotel had gone into administration.

But to 25-year-old Melanie's horror, the rumour turned out to be all too true.

As reported in yesterday's Gazette, the landmark Teesside hotel closed its doors suddenly on Monday morning, with the loss of what is now said to be 61 jobs.

Andrew and Melanie, childhood sweethearts since age 14, who have two young children, are now desperately ringing every venue they can find with the help of their families so their wedding can go ahead. But they stand to lose more than pounds 1,000 already paid for the Swallow Hotel's Four Season's suite for Saturday, September 19, which was booked a year ago. Melanie, mum to five-year-old Jack and 18-month-old Libbi, told the Gazette: "I was devastated when I rang the hotel and they said it was true. "I couldn't speak. The girl at the Swallow sounded really upset, but it wasn't her fault. "It still hasn't sunk in. We have six weeks to find somewhere else, and no money at all. "My dad John passed away three years ago and mum wanted to help out, but we just wanted a simple wedding. "We only had pounds 5 left to pay from the pounds 1,050 it cost and we were told we won't get a penny back. We haven't got wedding insurance." In a double blow, Melanie had already lost her wedding dress when Stockton bridal wear shop, Platinum Brides, closed suddenly last September.

"It seems like an omen, I think somebody is trying to tell us something," she said. "I said to Andy we should just cancel the lot. He just wants to get married and go away." Andrew, 25, who works at Thornaby Pool, was equally devastated, but tried to cheer up his bride-to-be. "She was crying for about 12 hours," he said.

"I think I got her out of the mood a bit, then it just hit me really strong." A notice on the hotel entrance announced the closure on Monday, which was confirmed by the administrators of owners Brentwood Hotels Ltd, James Money and Anthony Spicer of Smith & Williamson. …

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