Hotel refuses to refund man whose wife died before 50th wedding party

When Joyce Clifton, 72, died just eight weeks before celebrating her golden wedding anniversary, her widower, Eric Clifton, 78, felt sure that the hotel where they planned to celebrate would refund his £700 payment.

However, when Mr Clifton of Swanmore, Hampshire, contacted the Lysses House Hotel in Fareham, he was told that both his initial payment of £160, as well as a further payment of £535, was non-refundable.

The Portsmouth News reports that the couple had invited friends and family to the hotel to celebrate their big day. Sadly, Mrs Clifton died on July 29, after undergoing chemotherapy for bone and breast cancer. Mr Clifton cancelled soon after, but hotel owner Colin Mercer said that he is not eligible for a refund and had been advised to take out insurance.

"We phoned Lysses and they said 'that's a deposit, that's non-returnable, we did tell you that'," said Mr Clifton. "But the second payment surely wasn't, but hotel staff said: 'It was all deposit, you've lost that'."

Mr Clifton made the first payment of £160 in November 2012, and the second one of £535 in May 2013.

Hotel owner Mr Mercer said there was a 10 per cent deposit due when the booking was made, then 40 per cent 12 weeks before the event, and the remainder six weeks before the day.

Nicola Stafford, front-of-house manager at Lysses House Hotel told ITV that Mr Clifton had read and signed the hotel's terms and conditions when he booked the venue and they were unable to offer a refund as they had not been able to re-let the function room.

She said: "It is unfortunate and we understand he is upset and angry but we cannot give him preferential treatment. Our terms and conditions are standard across the industry and we would advise anybody booking a function to take out insurance for any such eventuality very much as if you had booked a holiday."

Mr and Mrs Clifton had been to the hotel several times for family meals and functions, but Mr Clifton has vowed that he will never set foot in the hotel again.

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