A competition to find the UK’s first ever bingo bride has made national news after being cancelled due to the concerns of a local vicar.
There was also international interest in the story which was picked up in both the US and India.
OnlineBingoClub.co.uk was hoping to become the first UK company to sponsor a wedding, offering one lucky couple £5,000 towards their big day in return for sporting the site’s logo on their outfits, menus, invites and place settings.
Delighted Matt Brown, 37, and Suzanne Latta, 28, were chosen from more than 100 couples who applied for the prize.
However their joy turned to despair after Rev Tony Watts said he felt the bingo website’s logo could encourage gambling and felt they were unsuitable for his church.
Rob Hutchison, founder of OnlineBingoClub.co.uk said whilst it had been great coverage for the site, it was a shame that the event had to be called off.
Mr Hutchison said: “We launched a long and thorough search to find the perfect couple, so when they sponsored wedding fell through it was a big disappointment.
“I can understand the vicar’s concerns and we didn’t want to upset anybody but it was unfortunate we couldn’t find a compromise.
“The story was picked up by a lot of the nationals who seem to view it as a classic clash between tradition and commercialism. In the end it’s fair to say that tradition won.”
Mr Hutchison said he wasn’t at all surprised that the competition caused a stir amongst his competitors.
He said: “A few things have been written by people within the industry criticising the competition but that doesn’t bother me at all.
“We wanted to help make one lucky couple’s dreams come true by offering them some extra cash whilst at the same time getting our name out there – there’s no harm in that.
“In the end we’ve probably ended up with more publicity from the event not going ahead than if it had, which is a surprise to say the least.
“We’ve developed a bit of a reputation in bingo circles as being a bit of a crazy group in terms of the things we’re willing to do to promote ourselves and I’m happy with that.
“With more than 200,000 members it seems plenty of people like our approach.”
He joked: “We respect the views of our competitors but I think they’re just jealous that they didn’t think of the idea themselves.”
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