Couples set to wed at Grasshoppers rugby club have special day cancelled with just weeks notice

Engaged couples who were preparing to tie the knot at the Grasshoppers Rugby Club in August have seen their hopes for their special day shattered after the venue was forced to pulled the plug on the arrangements.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 10:04 am

The rugby club, on Lightfoot Green Lane, was set to host the weddings of at least two couples this August, but contacted them on Tuesday, June 15, to tell them their special day would no longer be going ahead.

The couples, who have waited more than a year for their weddings, have now been left without a venue to tie the knot with just weeks to go.

This latest blow came after they were told their wedding would have to be hosted in an outside marquee after the original function room was taken over by the NHS to issue the vaccine in January.

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The rugby club has been used as a vaccination centre since the start of the pandemic
The rugby club has been used as a vaccination centre since the start of the pandemic

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A look inside Preston Grasshoppers new vaccination centre

In a letter sent to the couples by Chairman Martin Hothersall, the 'national crisis in the hospitality industry' and recent Government announcement were to blame for the cancellations, as the rugby club failed to trace enough bar and catering staff for the events.

It went on to add that, despite Boris' confirmation that weddings could still go ahead without the limit on guests, the social distancing guidelines would cause implications for the venue with guests unable to sit at tables of more than six or use a dancefloor.

But the engaged couples claim they have been offered no alternative venues or compensation for the hundreds of pounds they have lost on extras such as invites, DJs and photographers.

The function rooms usually used for weddings are now used to issue the Covid-19 jabs

When the Post contacted the rugby club, Martin Hothersall, Chairman of PGRFC, said: “We are incredibly sorry that we’ve had to cancel bookings in August. We’ve been working hard to find a way that would mean we could still operate without compromising on quality and safety.

"However, the recent decision to delay easing lockdown has caused immense disruption, which has prompted a staffing and resource crisis in the hospitality industry.

“After exhausting all possibilities to find experienced personnel who could manage and staff wedding receptions, we took the very reluctant decision to cancel customers’ events in August.

“It’s a decision we didn’t want to make, but we felt it preferable to do it at this stage rather much nearer the event.”

“In January, we’d been asked to home a large vaccination facility in a room that we had booked for functions on four dates in the Summer. We decided that providing an essential facility for the vaccination programme would benefit the local and broader community.

“Having the ability to house the vaccination centre for five months and with a solution for the four functions of holding them in a marquee seemed the correct decision at the time.

“At that point, we didn’t know that we’d experience significant difficulty finding experienced personnel due to the staffing crisis the hospitality industry is dealing with now. Had we known that, we’d have probably not accepted the bookings.

“Since reopening in April, like many other hospitality outlets nationwide, we simply can’t get the experienced staff we need. The high local infection rates in Lancashire and the prolonged uncertainty of the national restrictions have hindered us further.

“We’ve explained the reason for our decision to customers, and naturally, it’s caused upset for which we are truly very sorry.”

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