A FLORIST pulled out all the stops for a bride and groom after their wedding flowers were stolen on the eve of their ceremony.
Claire Young, who runs Wedding Flowers for You, came to the rescue of Melvyn Neale and Stephanie Gair after flowers she had prepared for their wedding were stolen the night before their big day.
Without telling the couple what had happened for fear of spoiling their special day, Claire rushed together replacement flowers exactly the same as those stolen.
The wedding went ahead with the couple knowing nothing of the theft until the next day.
Last night, Melvyn spoke of the couple’s eternal gratitude to Claire, while the thieves’ actions have been condemned by both the groom, the florist and police.
Claire, 34, her mother Eileen, who works for her at the business she runs in a studio beside her Allerburn home in East Heddon, Northumberland, and a colleague, had spent Wednesday lovingly preparing the flowers in line with the request of Melvyn, 59, and Stephanie, 60, from Tynemouth.
They were left in the studio to be delivered to the venue, Close House Hotel, for the wedding the next day.
But when Claire went to the studio at around 9am, she discovered it had been broken into. The flowers, worth more than ï¿½1,000 and including the bridal bouquet, had been stolen.
A lawn edger had been used to gain entry to the studio while Claire’s wheelbarrow and that of a neighbour had vanished.
A trail of flowers down the street suggested that thieves had made off with the flowers in the barrows. Claire said: “Shock was the initial feeling. It is kind of unbelievable.
“Just not knowing why somebody would want to steal something that has got no real value, but obviously that was going to have an impact on somebody’s big day.”
Claire reported the theft to police and not wanting to spoil Melvyn and Stephanie’s big day, rushed to the wholesaler, where fortunately all the right flowers were in stock.
Claire spent her own money to replace the stolen flowers and with the help from her mother and sister Helen Clohesy, she hurriedly recreated the arrangements as per the couple’s order.
Claire had the replacement flowers at the venue around two hours before the 4pm ceremony, with the couple knowing nothing of the theft. The wedding went ahead without a hitch.
Claire visited the venue yesterday morning where she told the shocked newlyweds what had happened.
Melvyn, an insurance underwriter whose wife is a risk assessor at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, last night spoke of the couple’s immense debt to their florist.
He said: “She did phenomenally. God knows how she pulled it all together. There was no way she was going to let us down on our wedding day.
“She went the extra mile, no doubt at a lot of personal expense. She could have quite easily said I have been robbed and we would have said it is OK. All credit to her.”
The replacement flowers had pride of place at a post wedding celebration at the Grand Hotel in Tynemouth last night. The newlyweds are now getting ready to jet off to Italy’s Amalfi Coast for their honeymoon.
Northumbria Police described the theft as “heartless and thoughtless”.
They are appealing for anyone with information on the theft to contact them on 101 ext 69191, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.