Bride-to-be ‘absolutely devastated’ by catering company closure

Heidi Russell. Picture: Steve Robards
Heidi Russell. Picture: Steve Robards

Your wedding day is meant to be the best day of your life – but many couples have been left picking up the pieces after their catering company suddenly ceased trading.

On Wednesday, June 13, Red Anywhere Catering sent letters to customers telling them they were shutting down for good that day.

I cried my eyes out, and the other half was completely dumbfounded

Heidi Russell

Heidi Russell and her fiancé, Austin Gildersleve, 50, were among them – and lost the £1,800 deposit for catering at their wedding on February 20, 2020 at Selden Barn in Patching.

The 47-year-old, from Cedar Close, Salvington, said it was ‘absolutely devastating’. “I cried my eyes out, and the other half was completely dumbfounded,” she said. “Most of the money for the wedding had come out of my dad’s inheritance, and we have been saving for about 18 months.

“I had been trying to watch the pennies – my wedding dress cost me £90 – but the one thing I wanted to spend money on was my caterers so that people could enjoy a lovely three-course meal.”

If the couple had paid by credit card, they could have got their deposit back. But as they paid by cheque and did not have wedding insurance, the money has been lost.

Heidi, a learning disability support worker, knew another couple who have been left without catering a month before their wedding.

Daniel Clarke, former managing director and chef at Red Anywhere Catering, confirmed he had recently launched a business venture at The Woodman Arms pub in Angmering – a fact Ms Russell said ‘hurt the most’.

Speaking to the Herald, he said: “With regards to The Woodman Arms, I have gone into business with another couple, who have provided the finance and business acumen to take the pub on, leaving me to focus on my areas of expertise – catering and hospitality.

“I can’t begin to tell you how distraught I am about what happened – I tried everything, including putting myself in great debt, to try and keep the company afloat and I’m acutely aware of and sorry for the impact on my former clients. I really didn’t want the business to fail – but it did – and I have certainly learned from the experience.”

In the letter to Heidi, Red Anywhere Catering said it had been in an agreement with creditors to repay its debts since 2015.

But according to the letter, on June 11 HMRC gave him 30 days to repay his debts, leaving him ‘with no other option but to make the heart-breaking decision to cease trading’.