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Administrators confident buyer can be found for Whitworth Hall
11:47am Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
BRIDES and grooms-to-be were left reeling today (Tuesday, October 22) after news broke that a historic country house hotel had gone into administration.
Administrators appointed to run Whitworth Hall Hotel, near Spennymoor in County Durham, last Friday are confident a buyer will be found for the popular wedding venue.
But their assurances were little comfort to one County Durham family who have paid £4,000 up front for a wedding due to take place at the Best Western hotel next April.
The mother of the bride, who asked to remain anonymous, said her 25-year-old daughter was utterly distraught.
“We have not been told anything at all,” she said. “I arrived back home to this crisis tonight.
“We have paid out £4,000 upfront and the invitations were due to go out in two weeks.”
She said the administrator’s confidence at securing a buyer did little to ease the family’s heartache, adding: “My main concern is my daughter and this uncertainty is causing her great distress.
“I know there will be a lot of other people going through the same thing as we are right now.”
Situated in picturesque grounds, complete with a deer park, Whitworth Hall Hotel is the ancestral home of the 18th century MP Bobby Shafto –subject of the famous nursery rhyme Bobby Shafto’s Gone to Sea.
It has provided an idyllic setting to countless wedding over the years but the difficult economic climate, and the death of Whitworth Hall Country Park Limited director Alan Lax this summer, have resulted in mounting financial problems.
However, joint administrators Andrew Haslam and Gary Lee, of Begbies Traynor, are optimistic about the 29-bedroom hotel’s future.
They have confirmed business will continue as normal and that all 40 members of staff will retain their jobs.
Weddings due to take place this weekend and next weekend will be honoured.
Mr Haslam said: “With its excellent reputation and outstanding recommendations on leading review websites, we are confident of finding a buyer quickly.
“We have already received significant interest in the business as a going concern which we anticipate will result in securing a future for one of the county’s premier hotels.”
Customers are advised to contact the hotel direct on 01388-811772 to enquire about future bookings.
Potential purchasers should contact Peter Bean at Colliers International in Leeds on 0113-200-1890.
*The Whitworth Estate on the outskirts of Spennymoor is steeped in heritage, dating back to 1183. It was originally the home of the Lords of Whitworth but in 1652 it was purchased by Mark Shafto, a lawyer from Newcastle.
For the next 330 years, 12 generations of the Shafto family lived at Whitworth, including Bonnie Bobby Shafto, who was immortalised by the popular nursery rhyme “Bobby Shafto’s gone to Sea.”
Elected as MP for Durham City at the age of 30, Bobby Shafto held the estate for 55 years, between 1742 and 1797. The ballad that made him famous is thought to have been an electioneering song written for his campaign.
The tune proved so popular that his grandson, Robert Duncombe Shafto, reused and added to it during his own successful election campaign for the same post in 1861.
Bobby Shafto died in November 1797 and was laid to rest in the Shafto family crypt in Whitworth Church.
In the 19th century, Whitworth Hall was widely considered one of the best country houses in County Durham. However, disaster struck in 1876 when a fire destroyed the majority of the mansion, with the exception of the library.
The three-story hall was finally rebuilt in 1891 as the two-story Grade II listed building that stands today.
In the 1980s, Robert Edward Duncombe Shafto sold the Whitworth Estate. It remained a private dwelling until 1997 when it was converted to the hotel.
*Are you concerned about a booking you have made at Whitworth Hall Hotel?
Contact Lizzie Anderson on 01388-602232 or email@example.com
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