A World War II veteran has finally enjoyed a much needed holiday, 71 years after he booked it.
Len Townsend, 89, from Ludham in Norfolk had booked a holiday to the Yellands’ Chalet Hotel in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight in 1939, when unfortunately our country went to war.
Mr Townsend received a letter from the travel company he had booked through saying the trip would have to be cancelled as the government had taken over the hotel. He was issued with a credit note which read: “We regret that owing to the International situation you will be unable to take up your holiday accommodation with us as arranged”.
The Isle of Wight Holiday Camps Association, of which the hotel were a member, issued credit notes in lieu of deposits paid and advised that they could be used as part payment against future bookings with them.
The D-Day veteran promptly tucked the10 shilling credit note away, and forgot all about it for the next 70 years, when it was uncovered during a clear out.
The current owners of the accommodation, Bourne Hotels, decided to honour the credit note for what is now known as the Bembridge Coast Hotel after hearing about the story.
When Mr Townsend booked his original holiday the complex had just been converted from a private residence and was a brand new property for its time. It has since changed hands three times and now specialises in holidays for the over 50’s with evening shows, archery and swimming amongst its advertised attractions.
Mr Townsend had completely forgotten about the note and was really surprised when Tom Canosa of the Bembridge Coast Hotel offered him his holiday. Canosa said “We only found out about the story when our general manager shared it with the rest of the team and of course we thought it was fantastic. Though we’re not the original owners we thought this was an amazing story and said that we would honour it [the credit note].”
Mr Townsend was delighted and declared “I was really surprised when they told me they were going to give us a holiday. It has been a nice weekend so I’m glad I finally got to come.”Hotel manager, Phil Howden, was delighted to welcome Mr Townsend, his son and his daughter-in-law to the hotel stating “We were delighted to hear of the story and gave him a free holiday with no extra charges by accepting the credit note, they had a fantastic time and we made a bit of a fuss over him, he was a bit of a celebrity. He had never been to the Isle of Wight before.”