A haven for wildlife proved a sanctuary for a “homeless” bride and groom after their wedding reception venue burned down.
Brockholes Nature Reserve came to the rescue as Hayley and Simon Keogh desperately scoured Lancashire looking for a last minute replacement.
Now the newlyweds have said a big thank you to staff from the woodland and wetland centre on the outskirts of Preston for saving the day.
“We can’t thank them enough, they were simply wonderful,” said Hayley. “It was absolutely perfect.
“When our reception was cancelled just a matter of weeks before our big day we were panicking. We expected everywhere else to be booked up.
“But Brockholes had a vacancy on that day and they came to our rescue.”
The two teachers - Simon at Whitefield School in Penwortham and Hayley in Shadsworth, Blackburn - had originally booked The 1617 Steakhouse, better known as The Sirloin, in Hoghton where they spent their first date.
But one Saturday night in February, less than 10 weeks before the wedding, the 17th century coaching house suffered a catastrophic blaze.
Diners and staff had to be evacuated and fire crews battled for hours to extinguish it. But the building was “devastated.”
So too were Hayley and Simon who were practically in tears when they surveyed the damage the following day.
“We drove past and it was obvious we wouldn’t be having our reception there - there was no way it would be fixed in time,” said Hayley.
“We were heartbroken. The Sirloin meant something to us.
“We both live locally and it was where we had our first date. It was just perfect.
“We looked at other places and they were all booked up. But then we approached Brockholes and they said they would be happy to accommodate us.
“They were absolutely brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble and they went above and beyond to make sure we had our perfect day.”
The couple were married at Chorley Register Office and had an afternoon reception for 65 at Brockholes, followed by an evening event for 100.
Gillian Rabbett, events organiser at Brockholes, said: “We were devastated to hear about what had happened and we were delighted we could help out.
“It was quite a short time to get things together, but everything turned out perfectly and it was lovely to be involved.”