Couple devastated after Leeds venue cancels vow renewal party

Jonathan and Josephine Bates. PIC: Simon Hulme
Jonathan and Josephine Bates. PIC: Simon Hulme
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A devastated couple’s plans to renew their wedding vows - to mark their 20th anniversary - have been left in tatters after the venue cancelled with just two weeks’ notice.

Heartbroken Josephine, 50, and Jonathan Bates, 57, booked Adel War Memorial Hall back in March for their celebrations on September 20 but received a letter on Saturday - posted second class - informing them the venue had double-booked.

The mix-up has shattered the couple’s dreams of a special day surrounded by their 100 friends and family, some of whom were travelling over from Scotland and Ireland and had already paid for flights and accommodation.

The Roundhay couple have also been left hundreds of pounds out of pocket, having paid for outfits, venue decorations, the ceremony at neighbouring St John’s Church and had hired caterers.

Bosses at Adel War Memorial Hall told the YEP they have launched an investigation into the incident.

Mrs Bates said: “I’m just in shock. I can’t believe it. We’ve been looking forward to it for six months and then two weeks before, to be let down. It’s not fair.”

She said: “We booked it in March. We had an email back to say the room’s available. We paid the deposit. Then two weeks before we get this letter, in second class post, with the wrong postcode on. It might never have got to us.

“I had a lovely dress, specially made, and my husband’s got a suit. People have bought their outfits and have booked in to places to stay. I feel so awful. I’m having to tell people that it’s cancelled and they’ve bought things.”

The couple frantically phoned other venues over the weekend but couldn’t find anywhere suitable for their party size and Mrs Bates’ disability. The 50-year-old uses a crutch or a wheelchair after injuring her leg in an accident at work a few years ago.

She said: “It took a while to find somewhere because of my disability. This was perfect - there was a ramp up the entrance and disabled loos. It’s a big sports hall, so there was space for me to wheel my wheelchair around and see all my guests.

“They have offered us their other room - but it would be too small.”

She added: “We’ve been through quite a lot over the past 20 years - we couldn’t have a family, and with my injury and disability. He’s pretty special to have stuck with me for all these things. So I thought, ‘right, we’re going to celebrate with all our close friends and family’ and then this happens. We’re devastated.”

Mark McFarlane, chairman of Adel War Memorial Association’s executive committee, who rang the couple of the weekend, told the YEP a full investigation has been launched.

He said: “Having learnt of the recent events involving Mr and Mrs Bates and the Adel War Memorial Association only over this past weekend, on behalf of all our members and specifically, our Executive Committee members, I sincerely apologise for what has happened.”

He said a full investigation had begun and they will take any action required to ensure the “regretful event” never happens again.

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