A welcome to Altonlea

Andrew Bazeley and Gemma Kerr pictired with Lee Bryan of Altonlea Lodge.
Andrew Bazeley and Gemma Kerr pictired with Lee Bryan of Altonlea Lodge.

A WARM welcome and a chance to unwind.

That’s exactly what Gemma Kerr, 28, and Andrew Bazeley, 25, can expect at the beautiful and homely Altonlea guest house on the night of their wedding.

Our Bride of the Year marries on board HMS Trincomalee in early September.

But once the night draws to a close, she and Andrew will head to the guest house to relax and reflect on a beautiful day. They could not ask for a more welcoming venue to spend their first moments as husband and wife.

The family-run premises are yards from the sea and boast majestic gardens, 11 letting rooms and nine of them en suite.

Olwen Bryan and her husband Tony first moved there 37 years ago, five years after they first arrived in Hartlepool for Tony to take up a job at the power station - and son Lee now has control.

Olwen said the first task, when she and Tony arrived, was to get the building in order as it was rundown.

But Olwen admitted: “It has been a way of life rather than a business for us. It has suited us.”

Olwen, originally from Chester, and Tony have expanded and improved the property over the years, including adding to the premises by buying a neighbouring cottage which is now six en suite rooms.

Altonlea has enjoyed numerous roles in its illustrious lifetime. It used to be the North View Cafe and was once a guest house for sea captains.

It has been a haberdashers and a cafe, but now it is run lovingly by Lee who has taken over from his parents.

It welcomes a regular stream of guests including contractors and a lot of repeat work. Lee was 18 months when his parents bought the premises.

It was a natural progression for him to take over especially as he has the same love of “meeting different people every day” as his parents.

Gemma said. “It looks a lovely place and the gardens are beautiful. It is a really welcoming guest house. We are going to love our stay there.”

The couple first became engaged after they attended the wedding of Gemma’s brother Graham in May last year at Lake Garda in Italy. It was the spur Andrew needed to pop the question himself.

Now they will marry after winning the Bride of the Year competition run by the Hartlepool Mail in conjunction with Robert Usher Photography.