The Longworth Hall Hotel Business Owner has responded to social media criticism after a local couple had their wedding cancelled with just a weeks notice.

Garry Lanes contacted Your Herefordshire to share his side of the story:

“My name is Garry, and I am the owner of the business at Longworth Hall Hotel. 

“For clarity, I do not own the building, that is leased, but the business Longworth Hall Hotel Limited is my sole responsibility.

“On 31st July 2023 we unfortunately suffered a small fire in our “back of house” area.

“The local fire brigade did an absolutely amazing job and restricted the fire to a small conservatory which was used for laundry and one bedroom above it. 

“I cannot commend them enough for their work.

“Since this date I have experienced a constant uphill battle to get any information from my landlords insurers and their appointed parties. 

“At every stage a further hurdle has been presented. It has taken 7 months to get power reinstated to the building, and the tender for the main works has still not been issued to my knowledge.

“The property is a grade 2 listed building, which does mean that many time-consuming consents need to be granted prior to any work beginning. 

“I am unaware if there are other reasons for the constant delays every stage of the way.

“I have put my entire life savings into this business and made a substantial investment. 

“We have conducted many very successful weddings and have received excellent affirmations from many happy couples. The absolute last thing that I would ever want to do is cancel someone’s wedding.

“I am fully aware of the length of time weddings take to plan and obviously the devastating impact of receiving news that it could not proceed.

“When the fire occurred, I looked at what needed to be put back in place in order for the wedding to proceed as planned. As the damage was restricted to a very small area at the back of house, it was completely conceivable to be able to host the wedding if our services e.g. electricity and water, were reinstated. 

“After a 7 month battle I finally received the confirmation of dates for the electrical repair, the new meter from my electrical supplier and finally the reconnection of our power. Despite cutting things extremely fine, power had been restored and it was my hope that the wedding could still proceed.

“However, a week before the wedding date we were advised that the fire alarm system could not be repowered and had failed. 

“It was regularly maintained and operational prior to the fire and had worked as expected on the day. 

“This came as a devastating blow, as naturally, we cannot allow guests into the building without appropriate fire protection for health and safety reasons. 

“My initial reaction was to call everyone involved to see how quickly a repair/replacement can be arranged.

“It became very evident that this would not be able to be achieved prior to the wedding, so the next day the devastating news was delivered to Kirsty and James. This was the last thing that I ever wanted to happen. 

“I explained to Kirsty and James that of course I would provide a full refund, that was not in question at all. 

“Unfortunately, as I have been unable to trade for nearly 8 months now. I do not have the cash flow to be able to do it immediately. 

“Because of the constant delays my insurers are no longer offering me any support and I am needing to take legal action against my landlords insurers for my losses. The wedding costs will be included in this claim and naturally passed on.

“I have done everything in my power to try to ensure that the wedding did not have to be cancelled, and I am personally devastated to have had to make this decision.

“But unfortunately works to the property have been outside of my control and sit with the landlord’s insurers.

“I am now being painted as a villain on social media for something which has been completely out of my control.

“There is now hopefully light at the end of a very dark tunnel as I can confirm that an alarm specialist has been appointed and will be visiting tomorrow. 

“I hope this will ensure that no further events or weddings will need to be cancelled.”

Article shared by Your Herefordshire on Tuesday:

A couple have been left devastated after a Herefordshire wedding venue cancelled their wedding just a week before they were due to tie the knot due to safety concerns.

James and fiancée Kirsty are still hoping to get married this Saturday, with a new venue offering to help them.

James told Your Herefordshire:

“My fiancée Kirsty and I began meticulously planning our perfect day 14 months ago. 

“With only a week to go, we had every detail perfectly orchestrated for what should be the best day of our lives… or so we thought.

“We received a call out of the blue in the afternoon of Friday 08.03.24, 8 days before the big day. The call was from our current venue in Hereford.

“The local venue informed us that following a fire last year, they still had safety issues that had not passed the required safety inspection, and that they legally could not have anyone stay at the venue. 

“This is due to their fire alarm system no longer functioning, making it no longer viable to proceed.

“Both my fiancée and I were in shock and utter disbelief. How could this happen? Why weren’t we told earlier? What are we going to do!? We have family travelling far and wide, where will they stay?

“We immediately got to work, desperately trying everything and anything we could to salvage the day. Our first call was to Glewstone Court Country House in Ross-on-Wye.

“From our very first point of contact with Glewstone Court Country House, we were overwhelmed at just how supportive, friendly and helpful the team were.

“Firstly, we spoke with Sam, who immediately sprang into action. He began taking details and reassured me that he would do everything he could to support us and get the appropriate member of the team Joel, the Head of Sales at Glewstone Court, to contact us within the hour.

“Approximately just 20 minutes later, sure enough Joel returned my call. To say Joel went above and beyond to do all he could for us, is an understatement. 

“From the get-go, Joel simply couldn’t do enough for us. He was beyond helpful and worked closely with us from around 4:30pm until 8:30pm that evening, meticulously planning every detail.

“Behind the scenes, Joel was in constant contact with the rest of the team at Glewstone, ensuring all our questions were answered without delay.

“Taking our current circumstances into consideration, Joel was even in contact with Gary Homewood, Owner & Managing Director of Glewstone Court, who told Joel to “do what you have to do to help us make this happen for them”. Joel also arranged for us to have a meeting with Gary the very next day.

“Upon meeting Gary at the beautiful Glewstone Court Country House, Kirsty and I were immediately put at ease. 

“Gary agreed to host the wedding at his venue, with only 6 days’ notice, and his fantastic team literally took all the logistics, planning and all other aspects of the day out of our hands with immediate effect. 

“They have since been working around the clock to deliver a perfect day for us.

“Given the fact that all of our money is still tied up in our current venue, the team at Glewstone Court took pity on us, reducing their pricing and going the extra mile to ensure they could deliver everything required at a price which has helped with our current situation.

“The problem now, is paying for this. With every penny of our hard-earned money currently tied up in our original venue. 

“Glewstone Court understandably is incurring costs which we are currently unable to meet at this moment in time.

“We have been in contact with the Manager of the original venue, who told us that they don’t have our money…

“We have wedding insurance; however, we were unable to make contact with them until Monday 11.03.24. We will now be forced to wait whilst the matter is investigated, which has been hampered further by our previous venues lack of communication and cooperation.

“It was suggested to me, that given the community spirit of my fellow Herefordians, we should start a crowdfunding campaign, with the goal of meeting our 4 day deadline in time.

“Should the insurance or the refund become available, we would of course then make a large charitable donation. 

“We aren’t looking for a free ride, just the opportunity to have the perfect day we scrimped and saved for all this time.

“Best Regards, James.”

What an awful thing to happen, so close to this couples big day. If you can support them, it will be hugely appreciated. 

We wish James and Kirsty all the very best.