Heartbroken couple accuse venue of ‘profiting from their loss’

Samantha Rumens and James Matthews
Samantha Rumens and James Matthews

A HEARTBROKEN couple who are mourning the death of their twins have accused the owner of a wedding venue of ‘profiting from their loss’.

James Matthews and Samantha Rumens were due to get married at the English Wine Centre in Alfriston this summer but asked the venue to postpone their wedding after they suffered the death of their two boys.

Ms Rumens said, “Our first son Jacob was born alive but it was very early. He was very small and the doctors said there wasn’t anything they could do for him.

“Four days later his brother George was born. We had high hopes for him. he was a lot bigger, but he was stillborn.

“We contacted the English Wine Centre.

“We just didn’t feel we were ready for a celebration.”

The couple say they decided to postpone the wedding until 2013 and the centre’s owner promised to return their deposit of £1,200 if another couple filled the booking but this had not been without its problems.

Ms Rumen added, “We have been going through an awful time.

“We feel like they are profiting from our loss.”

Colin Munday, owner of the centre, told the Herald he had offered them part of their deposit back even though they had signed a contract to say it was non-refundable.

Mr Munday said when he had a re-booking, unbeknown to him a friend of Samantha’s called asking if their original wedding date was free and they were told this was now taken.

He said Mr Matthews phoned, said he knew that date had been re-booked and asked for the money back.

The businessman explained he had not yet received a deposit from the new people adding, “I had no chance to write to him or repay it.

“I then got a very detrimental letter from his wife.

“I wrote to them and said now I had the deposit they could have some of the money back but I would like the accusations withdrawn.”

Mr Munday said that was a week ago and he has heard nothing back.

He added, “It’s the first time I’ve had any problems.

“I have a lot of sympathy for people who have lost children.

“I myself have lost two children so I do understand, I really understand.

“What they don’t seem to understand is that - of course it’s bad - but it doesn’t give them any more rights over someone else.

“I have no intention of profiting from their loss.”

The couple decided to have a small registry office ceremony in December and are still planning to celebrate their wedding in 2013.