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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

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Cumbrian couple's heartbreak after wedding inn shuts

Mandy McLennon had planned her wedding down to the last detail.

Mandy McLennon and Robert Skelton photo
Mandy McLennon and Robert Skelton

The country church, the cake, her dress, the bridesmaids, and – possibly the most magical detail of all – a reception at the pub near Brampton where she spent several happy years of her childhood.

As she posted the invitations to 130 guests from all over the country, 44-year-old Mandy must have felt all that remained was to say “I will” to her fiancé, Robert Skelton, 33.

But the couple’s wedding dream has been shattered by the unexpected closure of the pub they had booked for the reception, The Golden Fleece, at Ruleholme.

Former licensee Keith Nelson, who ran the pub and attached hotel with his wife June, said the business was no longer viable. The pub’s owners, Enterprise Inns, have now put it on the market for £250,000.

But Mandy, who lives with Robert a short distance from the Golden Fleece off the A689, said they felt let down.

“We booked the Golden Fleece in January and were delighted to be having our reception there,” she said. “My parents Robert and Pat owned it and I lived there with them and my sisters Sharon and Linda while we were all growing up. It holds many happy memories for us.”

Mr Nelson told the couple on Friday that the pub was closing, said Mandy, who is due to marry Robert at St Kentigern’s Church, Irthington, on June 25.

Mandy, who runs her own cleaning business, added: “Everything was prepared – the cake, the church, the food, the flowers. We’ve tried to get somewhere else but have had no joy. Robert and I have been together 10 years, so I’ve waited a long time for this wedding.”

Robert added: “We feel really disappointed.”

Mr Nelson, who runs the White Lion Hotel in Brampton, said: “I’ve apologised but the Golden Fleece just wasn’t viable. I can understand how she feels, but I couldn’t keep it open. We put £30,000 to £40,000 into it over the last 18 months. I’d have been bankrupt.

“The downturn has affected everything. We wanted to stay as managers but Enterprise Inns wouldn’t let us. It would have made a fortune if the airport had taken off.”

A spokeswoman for Enterprise Inns said the company had spoken to the couple in an attempt to help but declined to comment further.


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