News of the parking charges to be introduced at Wakehurst Place have soured what were otherwise blistfully happy memories of their wedding for Mid Sussex Times readers Carolyn and Hugh Townsend.
Hugh send these pictures and thoughts after contacting us following last week’s story that revealed the parking charge proposals for the first time.
Hugh wrote: “My wife, Carolyn and I moved to Haywards Heath in February 2010. I proposed a few weeks later and the hunt for a wedding venue began!
“We looked at several venues but once we saw Wakehurst Place we knew that was the one. Once it was booked we spent several weekends walking around Wakehurst, exploring and paying to show various friends and family members around the house and gardens.
“We held our reception there on a beautiful, sunny, summers day on 4th June 2011. The day was magical.
“When you get married the venue becomes embedded with happy memories and we have felt a sense of ownership of sorts with Wakehurst Place, having visited many times, wandered the grounds and even explored some of the back rooms.
“We use Wakehurst as our ‘happy place’. We go there sometimes when we are sad to cheer up and sometimes when we are happy too! We have much enjoyed watching the seasons change in this magical place.
“I was given lifetime National Trust membership for my Christening and have made good use of it. I generally donate each year to various NT causes too.
“I am disappointed that when we visit Wakehurst in future we will have to pay to park. This will certainly reduce our visits.
“It seems like a stealth tax on National Trust visitors. I understand that additional funds are required for the upkeep of the gardens but asking for a donation would be an easier and fairer way.
“It’s a beautiful place and we are happy to support it. When we paid thousands of pounds to hire Wakehurst Place as our wedding venue we consoled ourselves that the profit was going to a good cause. We felt the same each time we paid to visit with friends. This charge leaves a bad taste in the mouth.”
See another of Hugh and Carolyn’s wonderful wedding pictures in this week’s Mid Sussex Times and join the debate on the parking charges proposal by commenting here