Couple’s delight as wedding can now go ahead in July

Relief as hotel owners vow to refund customers

By Gemma Burns

A North Belfast couple who were left devastated after the shock closure of a local hotel eight weeks before they were due to marry at the venue have spoken of their relief after the news they are to get their money back from the owners. Ardoyne woman Patricia McLarnon and her fiancé John Murtagh were due to hold their wedding reception at the Lansdowne Hotel on Wednesday July 25. The hotel shut its doors on Tuesday with the loss of up to 35 jobs. Customers who had booked events at the Antrim Road hotel were initially told they were unlikely to get any money they had paid back.

However speaking this morning (Thursday) a spokesman for administrators McKeague Morgan said the Wong family, who own The Welcome Group, have agreed to refund all money paid for bookings at the hotel.

Jamaica Court woman Patricia, who suffers from a debilitating spine condition that could eventually leave her wheelchair bound, said she is delighted the £1600 she had paid will be returned to her in full.

The 28 year old said she was keen to marry this summer before her conditioned worsened and the money will now be used to book another venue.

“Eventually my spine is going to fuse together and I want to walk down the aisle,” she said. “When I heard the news the Lansdowne had closed I just went into shock. Everything has been booked and paid for and I just didn’t know what to do. I am very relieved they said they will give us everything back.”

Patricia said she won’t allow the closure of the hotel to hold her back, but will book another venue and get married as planned.

“Everything has been got and booked so I am booking somewhere else and getting married anyway,” se said.

“I have already sent out the invitations for the Lansdowne and some people have booked to stay at the hotel so we will still be out of pocket. But I just hope now we can get refunded as soon as possible so we can get on with paying for somewhere else.”

A spokesman for the administrators said they are in the process of putting the hotel in liquidation.

“The Wong brothers have decided to go above and beyond their legal obligations and pay everyone back what they had paid,” he said.

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