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Old 09-04-2008, 09:24 AM
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darrels joy darrels joy is offline
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Angry Soldier forced to sleep in car after hotel refuses him a room

Soldier forced to sleep in car after hotel refuses him a room

The Metro Hotel in Woking, which was under fire today

Hannah Fletcher

A wounded soldier home from Afghanistan on sick leave was forced to spend the night in his car after a hotel refused him a room.

Corporal Tomos Stringer was told by staff at Metro Hotel, in Woking, that it was company policy not to accept members of the armed forces as guests. The 24-year-old had travelled to the Surrey town to help with funeral preparations for a friend killed in action.

It was so late that Cpl Stringer, who had broken his wrist jumping off an Army truck as it was attacked, had no choice but to bed down in his tiny, two-door car, arm covered in plaster.

Cpl Stringer, of 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, has now returned to Afghanistan, but his mother, Gaynor Stringer, from Criccieth, north Wales, told The Times that she is still furious about the incident.

“I’m very, very angry. It’s discrimination. They would never get away with it if it was against someone of ethnic origin,” she said.
She said they had received neither an apology nor an explanation from the hotel, which is part of a family entertainment centre called The Big Apple and owned by a company called American Amusements.

"In America, they treat soldiers as heroes,” said Mrs Stringer, whose son joined the Army when he was 16 and has done multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.

“We went to Disney World with Tomos and the whole family was moved to the front of the lines. Everybody was standing up and clapping and cheering.

“Here, soldiers can’t even get a bed for the night.”

The incident has prompted widespread condemnation from senior members of the Government, MPs, servicemen and their supporters.

Hywel Williams, the MP for Caernarfon, Derek Twigg, the Defence Minister, and Bob Ainsworth, the Armed Forces Minister, have written to the hotel.

Mr Twigg wrote: “Although I do not know the precise circumstances, I think it is deplorable for the management of a hotel to have a policy not to accept military personnel and that this case is especially egregious given that the individual concerned was on injury leave from Afghanistan.”

Mr Williams said: “It is unacceptable and outrageous that anyone is discriminated against in this way. “

But perhaps even more worrying for Metro Hotel are the legions of army men and enthusiasts rising up in the forums of the unofficial British Army website to call for a boycott of the hotel.

Some have suggested booking the hotel in huge numbers only to cancel it at last minute. Others are encouraging their colleagues to post negative comments on websites offering customer reviews of the hotel.

One review site has already received half a dozen such comments.

“As a serving member of the British armed forces, I’m disgusted to see that one of my colleagues was refused a room in Metro Hotel in Surrey...because their policy is to refuse all army personnel,” wrote one.

“Anyone considering using any services of this company should definitely not bother. I'm sure a more patriotic company can be found with far superior services.”

Another wrote of the hotel: “Cons - No beds for our country's heroes.”

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Old 09-04-2008, 09:34 AM
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This is absolutely outrageous!

If there are any Royal Marine units not currently busy, I can think of a good mission for them!
""Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln,how did you like the play?"

Steve / 82Rigger
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Old 09-04-2008, 03:22 PM
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NOTE: If you want to tell them how you feel about their policy, the hotel is:
Metro Hotel,
Phone: 806 01 824
__________________________________________________ ______________
Wounded British soldier forced to sleep in his car after being refused hotel room 'because he was in the Army'

By Liz Hull
Last updated at 3:30 PM on 04th September 2008

A paratrooper who was flown home after he was injured fighting the Afghanistan was forced to sleep in his car overnight when a hotel refused him a room because he was a serving soldier.

Corporal Tomos Stringer, 23, had booked to stay at the Metro Hotel, in Woking, Surrey, while helping organise the funeral of a friend who had been killed in action.

On arrival, staff at the reception desk asked him for some form of identity and the soldier handed them his military pass.

Treated like 'scum': Tomos Stringer needed a hotel room for the night because he was helping with preparations for a friend's funeral killed in the line of duty

But Cpl Stringer, who was not dressed in uniform at the time, was astonished when they turned him away, claiming it was not company policy to allow Armed Forces personnel to stay at the hotel.

Last night Cpl Stringer's mother, Gaynor, 60, criticised the hotel for their 'disgraceful and outrageous' treatment of her son.

She has contacted Defence Minister Derek Twigg, who also described the hotel's actions as 'deplorable.'
Inhospitable: The Metro Hotel in Woking, Surrey

'It's a disgraceful way to treat some one who is prepared to give his life for Queen and country,' Mrs Stringer, who works as a volunteer in a charity shop, said.

'Soldiers in America are treated like heroes and get applauded everywhere they go, but our boys are being treated like scum. It is heartbreaking.

'I find it incredible that a hotel is even allowed to effectively ban a customer because of their choice of career - especially when that career is protecting our country.'

Cpl Stringer, who serves with the 3rd Air Assault Support Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps, based in Colchester, Essex, is currently on the front-line fighting in Helmand province.

He has been in the Army since he was 16 and served in Iraq before being posted to Afghanistan. He is due to return home from his second tour of the country at the end of the month.

His father, Philip Stringer, 79, a retired printer, who served three years with the Royal Horse Artillery, called for a change in the law to prevent something similar happening in the future.

'My son thought the whole thing was bloody awful,' he said.

'He is putting his life on the line, but he can't sleep in a hotel in his own country. Had this happened to a Muslim or black person it would, quite rightly, have been discrimination. It should be the same to turn away someone just because he’s a soldier.

Heartbreaking: Gaynor Stringer with a photo of her son Tomos, who was refused entry to a hotel because he works for the military.

'Tomos said he felt humiliated by the way staff treated him. The Army is his life, he signed up when he was 16 and is very proud to be a soldier.

'But he ended up sleeping in his car with his arm in plaster which is terrible. It should be against the law for this to happen.'

The incident occurred on June 22 this year while Cpl Stringer, of Pentrefelin, Criccieth, North Wales, was back in Britain on four weeks recovery leave.

The soldier had broken his wrist jumping out of his military wagon when a truck in front hit a roadside bomb and, although he was treated at a field hospital, doctors sent him home because the bone failed to heal for further treatment.

While back in Britain Cpl Stringer decided to visit a friend to see if he could help him with preparations for the funeral of a close colleague who had been killed in Afghanistan.

Cpl Stringer booked into the Metro Hotel earlier in the day, but when he went to check-in at around 10pm, dressed in his civvies, was refused entry.

He asked to see the hotel manager, but staff claimed he was unavailable.

By then it was too late to find another room in the town, so Cpl Stringer decided to spend the night in his car outside.

Mrs Stringer added: 'Tomos told me he would die for his Queen and country and he just wants to make a difference.

'There is no way he should have slept in his car that night - it's no way to treat a soldier.'

In a letter to Mrs Stringer, Defence Minister Derek Twigg said: 'It is deplorable for the management of a hotel to have a policy not to accept military personnel.

'This case is especially egregious given that the individual concerned was on injury leave from Afghanistan and visiting an injured colleague.

'The Government and, it is fair to say, the vast majority of people in this country, hold the professionalism, courage and contribution made by all those who serve, and have served in the armed forces in very high regard.

'I am delighted that the armed forces generally enjoy immense respect and gratitude on the part of the nation and that contrary sentiments are rare, though evidently they exist.'

Staff at the £60-a-night budget hotel were forced to call police after their switchboard was flooded with angry, abusive and threatening phone calls from the public.

Later, they issued an apology to Cpl Stringer and his family, saying the incident was as a result of a mistake made by the receptionist on duty.

'The Metro Hotel, Woking, sincerely apologises for any upset caused towards Cpl Stringer and his family following the incident at the hotel,' a hotel spokesman said.

'The hotel management has always had an open door policy to all its visitors and guests, including members of the military and armed forces, and will continue to do so.'

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