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Businesses step in to help after hotel shuts
Buy this photo » At the County Ground are the charity’s secretary Sandra Wanless, Karen Abrook of STFC, charity vice chairman Dave Logan and Fiona Rumsey of STFC
BUSINESSES around Swindon have been gathering together to support those affected after the sudden closure of the Menzies Hotel last week.
Groups, charities and guests were thrown into disarray over the weekend when the hotel group was sold to the Topland Group.
The Christmas Care homeless shelter was depending on the Menzies’ chefs to cook and carve 12 turkeys for Christmas Day, and the Swindon and district branch of Parkinson’s UK hoped to use the venue for a Christmas party on December 14.
Christmas Care chairman Patsy Moloney spent the weekend panicking after the news, while desperately calling around hotels in Swindon who could offer a similar service.
Yesterday, the Blunsdon House Hotel came forward, offering to cook the turkeys in their industrial ovens and bring them along on Christmas Day.
Patsy said: “The Menzies Hotel have been cooking and carving the turkeys for the past eight or nine years, so I panicked when I heard they had closed so close to Christmas.
“Then yesterday the Blunsdon House Hotel called saying they could do it.
“They have been absolutely wonderful. The Blunsdon house Hotel is a family-run business and I hope they will be able to do it in years to come.”
The Blunsdon House Hotel helped guests of the Menzies all over the weekend after they were left stranded.
They offered Christmas Care the service after hearing of their plight.
Carrie Clifford, hotel director at Blunsdon House Hotel, said: “Christmas Care isn’t a corporate event, it’s a charitable event. Blunsdon House Hotel isn’t corporate centred and we thought to help out would be more in the spirit of the hotel.
“The main issue will be a logistical one when we take it down in minibuses with the gravy in the back.”
Meanwhile, Swindon Town Football Club stepped into the breach to help out Parkinson’s UK.
The County Ground will hold an event for £10 on December 13 for Parkinson’s UK and other groups who have been affected by the closure.
Dave Logan, vice chairman of the branch, said: “I thought it was absolutely fantastic when Swindon Town stepped in and offered their venue.”
Karen Albrook, duty manager at the County Ground, said: “It’s terrible, especially so close to Christmas, if your Christmas party is cancelled.
“We’re opening the venue on December 13 to anyone who has been affected by the closure. We’re offering it at a low-cost price too.”
A number of other venues have also come forward as possible alternatives to the Menzies Hotel in light of the closure, including the Mercure in South Marston and the Greyhound Stadium in Blunsdon.
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