STUNNED South Yorkshire bride Nadine Kelly’s plans for a sunshine hen party were grounded when her chief bridesmaid disappeared with her £3,000 holiday fund.
Nadine, aged 30, and her pals saved up for a celebration in Benidorm, before her wedding to fiancé James Kelly last year.
They entrusted matron-of-honour Charlene Whittaker to look after the cash.
But, three days before the pals were due to fly out to Spain, 29-year-old Charlene told them the flights had been cancelled.
It was only later they discovered the truth, that Charlene - Nadine’s childhood friend - had never booked the trip and had kept the money instead.
Charlene was reported to the police, prosecuted, and taken to court where Rotherham magistrates ordered her to do 80 hours of community service.
Whittaker, formerly of Rackford Road, North Anston, Rotherham, but who now lives in Worksop, was also ordered to pay £1,410 compensation and £75 costs after admitting theft.
Nadine, of Cedric Crescent, Thurcroft, Rotherham, said: “I thought she was my best friend.
“I just couldn’t comprehend that someone I had been so close to could do something like that to me.”
Nadine said Charlene’s crime came to light only after she falsely claimed the 30-strong group’s flights had been cancelled because of the Icelandic ash cloud which disrupted air travel last May.
Nadine, who runs the Millionhair Salon in Brecks, said: “She’s still never given me an explanation for what she did.
“After I found out what had happened I was gutted - I just couldn’t stop crying.
“She sent me a few messages and repaid some of the money through her mum, but eventually she stopped replying to texts and wouldn’t answer the phone.
“I’ve never had an apology, an explanation or anything.”
She added: “She had said something about the ash cloud causing problems but it was on the Wednesday before we were due to fly on the Sunday that she told us that the flight was cancelled.
“My sister-in-law rang the airline to see what had happened and they said the flight had never been cancelled - and we had never been booked onto it.”
Nadine and her friends made their own arrangements to fly out to Spain, and she happily married fiancé James in September.
After the honeymoon she and the other hen party guests decided to call the police.