New Rye wedding plans for couple forced to cancel due to hotel blaze

Neil Speller and his fianc�e Sarah Hopkinson
Neil Speller and his fianc�e Sarah Hopkinson

A couple whose wedding was cancelled after a devastating fire at The George in Rye said they plan to get married in Rye as soon as possible.

Neil Speller and his fiancée Sarah Hopkinson were due to hold their wedding reception at The George on Saturday (July 20).

However, after a large fire broke out just after 4.30am, the couple were forced to cancel their wedding.

Now on holiday, rather than honeymoon, Neil said: “I wish we had been able to rearrange the wedding even for the Sunday, as we have had to come on our honeymoon, now holiday, without being married.

“On the bright side no one was hurt. Everyone in Rye was so helpful and kind, and we plan to get married in Rye as soon as possible.

“When we do we also plan to invite everyone who helped and looked after us that day to the service, and if possible to celebrate with us afterwards.

“We hope it can also be a celebration for The George, who will need to reopen their beautiful hotel after such a terrible day.”

Neil confirmed it was Sarah’s dress which firefighters went in to rescue on Saturday morning.

According to Neil, it is still being assessed for damage.

The large fire also affected many of the guests who had been staying in the hotel ahead of the wedding.

Neil added: “Our guests lost most of their belongings. And had to buy clothes from a charity shop to wear during the day.”

Matthew and Louise Sargent were also due to marry at the venue on Sunday. They were forced to cancel their wedding but were able to rearrange at the nearby Saltcote Place after the owners stepped in to save the day.

Neil added: “Our understanding was that the other couple staying were due to marry on the Sunday at the George which gave them the time and opportunity to rearrange.

“It made us so happy this morning to hear that the other couple who had planned to get married on the Sunday we’re able to, and we wish them the best for the future.”

An investigation into the cause of the fire concluded it to be accidental and ‘electric in origin’. A fire service spokesman said any further detail would be ‘dependent on further investigations’.

See more:
Amber Rudd praises fire service for ‘swift and effective’ response

Bride’s wedding dress among items saved by firefighters

40 firefighters tackle fire at historic Rye hotel

The George in Rye ‘to re-emerge even better’ after devastating fire

Investigation reveals cause of devastating fire at The George in Rye