Sheffield ski blaze newlyweds’ venue joy

ski village fire
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CELEBRATIONS are back on for a newlywed couple whose reception plans went up in smoke when Sheffield Ski Village was destroyed by fire.

Karl and Natalie Smith, both aged 47, from Frecheville, were forced to cancel their wedding reception after a huge fire devastated the complex.

But after highlighting their plight, The Star was inundated with offers of alternative venues for the couple and their 140 family and friends to celebrate the wedding.

An influx of phone calls and emails came in from businesses and venues across South Yorkshire, all keen to come to the rescue.

And the newlyweds, who tied the knot at a small ceremony in Gretna Green yesterday, opted for Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham - which is providing the venue, decorations and music free of charge.

The reception will take place in the Fuel restaurant of the former steelworks at Templeborough.

Karl and his new bride, who have been together 14 years, said they have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the generosity of those who came forward.

“We had an offer from Magna and we are going with them because it’s a bit different - which is what we wanted with the Ski Village,” he said.

Karen Staniforth, from Magna, said: “My heart went out to Karl and Natalie. It just seemed an obvious thing for us to do.

“We have a great venue here for weddings that wasn’t booked for Friday, so we said to them, ‘Come and have a look’.

“They came to see us and loved the place so we offered it to them.”

Fire investigators and detectives are meanwhile still investigating the cause of the blaze which destroyed the Ski Village at the weekend.

Specialist fire service investigators have finished examining the wreckage and South Yorkshire Police are now carrying out inquiries off-site.

Fire crews were called to the artificial ski slope at Parkwood Springs in the early hours of Sunday to find the main Alpine-style wooden reception centre - which had function rooms, ski hire and a bowling alley - engulfed in flames.

They were called out 48 hours later to find another building well alight.

The second fire has been logged as an arson attack but the cause of the first has not yet been confirmed.

Sheffield MP David Blunkett, whose constituency includes the Ski Village, said he was disappointed by the blaze.

“I think this is a tragedy for the many young people who use the Ski Village and for their families who spend hours accompanying them for pleasure and competitive skiing,” he said.

“It had been hoped a major redevelopment would take place but the global recession and lack of takers for an imaginative development has scuppered this for the time being.”