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A YEAR ON: RYDE CASTLE

RydeCastle_18032012_006It is just over a year since the historic Ryde Castle was severely damaged by a blaze which ripped through the building, leaving just a shell of the former glorious hotel.

Despite 12 months having passed, the newly weds at the center of the news headlines are yet to settle a compensation claim with Greene King, the owners of Ryde Castle and a number of other businesses across the Island.

RydeCastle_18032012_017Over 50 firefighters tackled the inferno, which ignited after fireworks were let off from the roof of the hotel during a wedding reception. This photograph, taken from the Island Echo image archive, shows the fire at its height.

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Robert and Alex Ballard had just married and along with guests and family, were celebrating their big day at Ryde Castle like any other newly-wed couple. Things took a turn for the worse when the wedding party had to flee from the building leaving behind their possessions, including wedding gifts.

RydeCastle_18032012_CoupleResizedIsland Echo’s editor and chief photographer was on the scene immediately under instruction from national newspapers and watched as the events unfolded, with a distraught  Mr and Mrs Ballard taking refuse in The Pavilion Bar, before being moved to St James’ Church in Lind Street, which was set up as an emergency shelter (photographed).

Despite themselves setting the fireworks off, the couple are now seeking £4,000 in compensation for the lost of possessions plus a further £2,000 for the ruined day. It was said at the time that staff and management at the hotel ignored the first fire alarm, which provided an early indication to the fire burning above.

A spokesperson for Greene King this week have said “We very much appreciate the upset and distress that fire can cause and have been working hard through our insurers to agree a settlement. We have been able to settle all other guests’ claims surrounding the fire at Ryde Castle in line with the losses suffered and continue to hope that an amicable solution can be reached with Mr and Mrs Ballard.

It is hoped that Ryde Castle will be reopen by the end of the Summer.

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