HOTEL bosses are reigniting the flame of romance for a fire brigade chief whose wedding night was "spoiled" by Kevin Keegan.

Hardwick Hall Hotel in Sedgefield stepped in for Valentine's Day after The Northern Echo revealed earlier this week how an all-night party to celebrate Keegan signing for Newcastle in 1982 was "bit of a distraction" on John Robinson's first night as a newly-wed.

Coincidentally Keegan celebrates his 67th birthday today.

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The Northern Echo: NEWLY-WEDS: John and Maxine Robinson on their wedding day at Hardwick Hall in 1982

NEWLY-WEDS: John and Maxine Robinson on their wedding day at Hardwick Hall in 1982

John and his wife, Maxine, have long associations with Hardwick Hall. They were both born there when it was a maternity hospital and it was their wedding night venue after they married at St Edmund's Church in nearby Sedgefield.

However, the chairman of County Durham and Darlington's fire authority revealed in Monday's Northern Echo how the Keegan party had been so noisy it had dampened his ardour.

Now, Hardwick Hall has responded by offering John, 59, and Maxine, 58, a romantic, candle-lit dinner and overnight stay to make up for their disappointment 35 years ago.

Hotel general manager Rob Warren said: "After reading about the couple's wedding night disappointment, we are only too pleased to reignite the flame of romance and we hope they have a lovely time on us."

John has announced that he will be making a donation to the Fire Fighters' Charity as a thank you to Hardwick Hall.

The charity, formerly the Fire Brigade National Benevolent Fund, was a great support to John's family when his father, George, died of a heart attack, aged 50, while on duty as a retained firefighter when John was just 11.

The Northern Echo:

The first picture taken of Kevin Keegan after he arrived on Tyneside to sign for Newcastle United in August 1982

"It's a fantastic gesture by Hardwick Hall and it gives me the opportunity to say thank you to the Fire Fighters' Charity for the invaluable work they do," said John.

Maxine, who was a Sedgefield councillor for 21 years, added: "Hardwick Hall has played such an important part in our lives, right from the beginning, so this is a lovely surprise."

John and Maxine met while working as nurses at Winterton Hospital and have two children as well as five grandchildren.

They are hoping to have their romantic stay around their wedding anniversary on September 18.

In addition to organising the surprise for John and Maxine, Hardwick Hall has made a Valentine's pledge to give a discount on overnight stays to anyone who can prove they were born in the building.