A HEREFORD couple have had to change their wedding reception venue at the last minute.

James Flanagan and Kirsty Ely were due to spend their special day at Longworth Hall, in Bartestree, this Saturday (March 16). 

However, last week, the couple were told they could no longer hold it there "due to safety concerns."

On July 31 last year, a lean-to-laundry caught fire at the hotel, with four fire engines called. 

However, despite it happening over seven months ago, the firm that owns the business side of the hotel says it has faced constant battles, with a faulty fire alarm meaning that they could not grant Mr Flanagan and Miss Ely's booking.


Luckily, Glewstone Court has come to the couple's aid, with the reception now taking place there. 

However, at this stage, the couple, who live in the Whitecross area of Hereford, are unable to pay for the venue

They have therefore set up a Crowdfunder page asking for help. 

"We have contacted our insurance, however, there is little hope of them paying before the big day this Saturday, especially given our previous venue's reluctance to provide information," reads their post.

"Glewstone Court understandably is incurring costs which we are currently unable to meet at this moment in time, due to our money being tied up in our previous venue.

"We are not looking for a free ride, we have already worked hard, saved, and funded our wedding in good faith. Unfortunately this has been taken away from us.

"We just need to be able to provide Glewstone Court with the payment that they have gone above and beyond to earn, whilst we await reimbursement. 


"If and when we receive either our refund, or our insurance claim, we will then look to make a sizeable charitable donation with money raised.

"We can't thank the team at Glewstone Court enough for their compassion, generosity and dedication. Without them, we would be utterly lost. 

"We now need to do everything we can to ensure this local independent Herefordshire business gets what they are rightfully due."

The business side of Longworth Hall is owned by Garry Lanes, of Longworth Hall Hotel Limited

Mr Lanes explained that getting work done at the Grade II listed building has proved problematic.

"I have put my entire life savings into this business and made a substantial investment," he said.

Hereford Times: A fire happened at a lean-to-laundry building at Longworth HallA fire happened at a lean-to-laundry building at Longworth Hall (Image: Submitted)

"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 . 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."

Mr Lanes added that, at the time of the fire, it was conceivable to still host the wedding if its services, such as electricity and water, were reinstated.

However, last week, he was advised the fire alarm system had failed.

"It was regularly maintained and operational prior to the fire and had worked as expected on the day," said Mr Lanes.

"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 things that I ever wanted to happen. 

"I explained to Kirsty and James that of course I would provide a full refund. Unfortunately, as I have been unable to trade for nearly eight months now, I do not have the cash flow to be able to do it immediately.

"I have done everything in my power to try to ensure that the evening celebrations 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.

"There is now hopefully light at the end of a very dark tunnel as I can confirm that an alarm specialist has been appointed. I hope this will ensure that no further events or weddings will need to be cancelled."