Beaminster Tunnel tragedy: Pair enjoyed meal before deadly landslide

11:30am Thursday 19th July 2012

By Rene Gerryts

THE tragic couple who died under a landslip enjoyed a meal at one of their favourite restaurants in the hours before they died.

They braved the terrible weather conditions to have dinner at the The Bridge House Hotel in Beaminster on the fateful evening. Rosemary Snell and Michael Rolfe were returning to her home in Misterton when tragedy struck.

Hotel owner Mark Donovan said: “Everyone at the hotel is in a state of profound shock and sadness at this terrible tragedy.

Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with immediate family and friends.

“Mrs Snell and her friend came to dinner at the Bridge House Hotel, Beaminster on the night of the floods two Saturdays ago.

“As regular visitors they enjoyed a two-course dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, the Beaminster Brasserie.

“Mrs Snell’s companion paid the bill and they left the hotel shortly after 10pm.”

Many of the hotel’s diners either cancelled their reservations or chose to stay in the hotel that night.

Hotel maitre d’ Jane Fox said: “Several of our guests had cancelled their reservation that night because of the appalling weather.

"Others had sought refuge at the hotel and we were full to capacity.

“However, Mrs Snell and friend braved the atrocious conditions and managed to reach the hotel earlier that evening.

“They were a genuinely nice couple who were always very chatty and interested in each other.

"Mrs Snell always appeared immaculately dressed.

“They were simply a pleasure to serve and have as our guests.”

Shortly after the couple left the hotel, kitchen and reception staff took the same route, the B3066 to Mosterton.

By then the landslip had occurred and they were forced to turn back unaware that Mrs Snell and her friend had been caught in the mud and rubble.

Owner Mark Donovan added: “Conditions that day were truly dreadful.

“Villages all around Beaminster were cut off.

"It appears that these lovely people were simply in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time.

“We are humbled and devastated by this appalling accident and send our sincere condolences to their family and friends.”

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