FROM its humble beginnings in 1968, The Arden Grill in Bickenhill has risen to become one of the largest privately owned hotels in the Midlands.
Bought originally for £14,000 by friends John Gardner and Peter Bretherton - John actually lent Peter £1 to cover the deposit and hasn't accepted it back, arguing he is the senior partner -the renamed Arden Hotel is still a family business four decades later.
Now divided equally between John and Rita Gardner, Peter Bretherton, Steven Gardner, Tony and Julie Cheal and Dave Gardner, the hotel is set to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a fundraising gala dinner tomorrow (Saturday November 8.)
Dave Gardner, managing director of the hotel said: "It's pretty much sold out. The proceeds are going to Acorns Children's Hospice and the Birmingham Mail Charity Trust. We've got some old customers coming who have been coming to us for over 40 years- virtually every Sunday lunchtime. There will be other longstanding customers as well as suppliers, members of staff and old friends of Arden. We know everyone who is going."
Now boasting 216 bedrooms, 12 event rooms, a leisure club, bars and restaurants, the hotel has seen five extensions and is worth around £20 million.
Dave is looking forward to the weekend's event which will include a champagne reception, band and a stint from comedian Duggie Brown, who is a family friend. And, in a nod to the hotels early days as a grill, bacon butties will be served in the conservatory at 1am!