Cancer patient's holiday from hell at Blackpool's Mellory Hotel saved by the owner of Sutton Park Guest House

A kind-hearted B&B owner has been praised for offering a free mini-break to a cancer patient who was ‘degraded’ during a ‘filthy’ hotel stay in Blackpool.
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A cancer patient who booked a relaxing break in Blackpool found his deluxe room was the making of a holiday from hell.

Jeff Percival, 56, had booked a five night stay with his partner, hoping to relax after an intensive 10-hour chemo treatment.

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But when they arrived at the Mellory Hotel – the ‘deluxe room’ was nothing like it appeared on the booking site.

Blood-stained sheets

The Middlesborough couple were ‘horrified’ to find blood stains on the top sheet – but it got worse.

Jeff, who is prone to infection because of his ongoing chemotherapy, said: “They brought me a fresh sheet, but for curiosity we lifted that one up to see the mattress. It was full of old wee and blood stains, and there was no way I could stay in this disgusting room.”

‘Asked to show him my colostomy bag’

To make matters worse for the distraught couple, staff then brought Jeff’s illness into question.

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"I was asked by the owner to show him my colostomy bag and asked me to prove my disability before he made his mind up. It was quite degrading. All we wanted was a refund and to go home, but they tried to blame us for the damage, even though you can tell it’s not new damage."

Kind hotelier to the rescue

They did manage to find another place to stay, which cost a lot more money at such short notice.

But after sharing his story online, a hotelier approached Jeff with a kind offer that made him feel there ‘are some really decent people in Blackpool’.

The couple are now returning for a free mini-break at an award-winning B&B, after his next long round of chemotherapy, in September.

‘As if undergoing chemo isn’t bad enough’

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Gillian Norris, owner of Sutton Park Guest House, said: “He’d clearly had a bad experience, as if undergoing chemo isn’t bad enough and it’s nice to be nice.”

The small B&B on Woodfield Road recently won the ‘Traveller’s Choice Best of the Best’ award on Trip Advisor.

Gillian added: “Blackpool gets such a bad press with some of the crappy accommodation here - it used to be if you didn’t pay much you didn’t get much - but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore - some guests pay a lot more than we charge and the accommodation is dreadful, particularly on last minute bookings when they raise the rate and all the good places are already booked.”

Heart-warming – praise from local hotel association

While dirty B&B’s leave a bad impression, Blackpool is home to plenty of wonderful hotels owned by dedicated people.

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Ian White, a director of StayBlackpool, has praised Gillian’s actions. He told the Gazette: “It always is so heart warming to hear that a hotelier has stepped in to save the day, going well beyond what would be expected. The levels of humanity, understanding and compassion in this story are extremely credit worthy and really need celebrating.”

Where can I get advice about poor accommodation?

StayBlackpool is the resort’s Hotel & Guest House Association, and they encourage anyone negatively affected to reach out to them.

VisitBlackpool, and Trading Standards (in the town they pay council tax) can also offer support.

However where the accommodation is booked through a service such as, Expedia or other company that must be the first port of call.

How can I find a good B&B?

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Mr White added: “I have been involved in many stories where a small number of "Accommodation Providers" have let themselves and the town down with standards of cleanliness and service have been shocking to say the very least.

Knowing many hoteliers in Blackpool, I am aware that the town has a significant number of amazing people in this sector.

With Blackpool celebrating, The Fylde International being awarded the AA Friendliest B&B in the UK and a near neighbour in the top 15 . There are also two Blackpool B&B's with Trip Advisors "Best of the Best 2023" awards. The message is clear this is a great town for accommodation, but please beware, do your homework and check reviews or better still book through approved local organisations.”

We attempted to contact Mellory Hotel, but have not had a response at the time of publishing.

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