Handyman John keeps it in family to build Shropshire hotel's woodland wedding area

Telford | News | Published:

He has put up 700 rolls of wallpaper and made his way through more than a thousand litres of paint – but 70-year-old John Gregory is not ready to hang up his handyman tools just yet.

In fact, the Shropshire carpenter and retired site manager has recently completed his biggest ever project, building a woodland wedding area and ceremony structure at The Wroxeter Hotel.

As head of the hotel's maintenance and development team he was not alone, but for this unique project he roped in some extra special helpers.

Son Paul and grandson Jack also worked to create the area, which includes a giant teepee, at the site between Shrewsbury and Telford.

John was a sprightly 63-year-old when he started working at The Wroxeter Hotel in 2008.

His son Paul had carried out numerous building jobs at The Wroxeter and daughter-in-law Lizzie worked at the hotel when new owners Hannah and Ed Hall were looking for someone to help with the grounds and work on the building.

Since then John has put his hand to all manner of things, not least wallpapering the entire hotel more than once and building and painting numerous wedding props including a sweet cart, an ice-cream cart and a wishing well. And he has also celebrated numerous events in the venue – his wife Betty's retirement party, his 65th birthday celebrations, his son Paul's wedding to wife Lizzie, and the grandchildren's christenings.

The woodland wedding area at The Wroxeter Hotel. Pic:

"I love meeting people and I love keeping my hand in," says John, "so the Wroxeter is the perfect place for me to be. I am semi-retired now but they keep me busy.


"It was a real challenge to build the rustic ceremony structure in the time we had but I like a challenge and I roped in my son Paul and my grandson Jack to help. Jack recently took on a role as an apprentice carpenter and joiner with Persimmon Homes but spent the summer gaining work experience with me at The Wroxeter.

The teepee in the woodland wedding area. Pic:

"It was great to see it all coming together and I am really looking forward to seeing the preparations for the first wedding there." The woodland area has already been booked by five couples following its official launch in September and the first wedding will take place on July 25, 2016.

Darryl-Ann Brooks, commercial manager, said John, Paul and Jack were fantastic and the fact the woodland ceremony site has been created by a local family makes it all the more special.

She said: "John is never fazed by anything and he can turn his hand to whatever is requested of him. We usually follow a request up by telling him we need it a week later but we did give him more time with this latest project.

"I don't think there is a part of the hotel that John hasn't painted, wallpapered or touched up in some way, he is an invaluable member of the team."

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