Couples' wedding reception fears after Houghton pub's sudden closure

Lee Canning and Faye Dougherty who had their wedding reception booked at The Copt Hill pub in Houghton, which has now closed at short notice.
Lee Canning and Faye Dougherty who had their wedding reception booked at The Copt Hill pub in Houghton, which has now closed at short notice.
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Brides to be have spoken of their worries after the venue set to host their wedding receptions in just four months time announced it was closed.

A number of couples have contacted the Echo following the sudden closure of Houghton’s Copt Hill, in Seaham Road.

Mark Egan and Stacey Turnbull with their daughter Grace. Mark and Stacey also had their wedding reception booked at The Copt Hill but have now had to find another venue.

Mark Egan and Stacey Turnbull with their daughter Grace. Mark and Stacey also had their wedding reception booked at The Copt Hill but have now had to find another venue.

As we reported at the weekend, the pub was shut last week, with a sign left on its front door reading: “We apologise but due to unforeseen circumstances we will be closed until further notice”.

Now, devastated couples have told of their upset at the lack of communication.

Faye Dougherty and Lee Canning will tie the knot at Christ Church, in Seaham, this August, and were set to have their reception at the Copt Hill.

Faye, 25, and Nissan worker Lee, 28, are now desperately trying to find an alternative venue for their big day and also want to claim back the £100 deposit Faye paid at the end of last year.

The Copt Hill, in Seaham Road, Houghton.

The Copt Hill, in Seaham Road, Houghton.

The full cost of hiring the venue was priced at almost £2,000.

Faye, who works for Npower in Peterlee, said: “I paid the deposit at the end of the year and the owner said they’d do whatever I asked for.

“It’s a good job my mother-in-law saw about it closing because no-one called to tell me.

“We didn’t expect this to happen at all and I think the least the owner could’ve done was to let me know the place was closing.”

The sign on the door of The Copt Hill detailing its closure.

The sign on the door of The Copt Hill detailing its closure.

On hearing that the pub has closed, Faye, of Seaham, went up on Saturday to see if she could speak to anyone but it was to no avail.

“There were two women there who I asked if they could pass on a message to the owner but they seemed very sheepish,” said Faye.

“I felt like I was getting palmed off to be honest.”

The family, which includes the couple’s daughter Isla, two, are now hoping someone will come to their rescue and provide an alternative reception venue for Saturday, August 27.

“I haven’t managed to sort anywhere yet and I’m struggling to,” said Faye.

“Because we are getting married on August Bank Holiday Weekend everywhere is fully booked.”

South Hetton couple Stacey Turnbull and fiance Mark Egan, both 30, also had their wedding reception booked in at the pub, on Friday, August 19.

Teaching assistant Stacey paid a £100 deposit and was due to handover the balance of £1,895 weeks before the big day.

“I found out on Saturday morning that the pub was shut and went into a real panic,” said Stacey.

“I couldn’t get the owner on the phone and the emails I was sending to her kept being returned.

“Then, at about 10pm on Saturday I got an email saying that it had closed and that there was nothing she could do about it.

“Ever since we booked the reception, getting in touch has been a nightmare.”

Luckily, the couple have managed to arrange a reception at Seaham Town Hall after those running the site stepped in to offer discounted rates to those affected.

Stacey says her attempts to get back her deposit money have however proved unsuccessful so far.

The bride-to-be said invites, napkins and decorations for the event will also have to be replaced, costing more money.

“Seaham Town Hall said they’re trying to help as many people as they can so we’ve been lucky to get in,” added Stacey, who has a two-year-old daughter, Grace, with Mark.

“But this is not something I wanted to happen 16 weeks before I’m due to get married.

“It has caused a lot of stress.”

Despite attempts by Echo reporters to contact the owners of the Copt Hill both by phone and visits to the pub, no-one was available for comment.