Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Ex-All Black playing host to happy pair

Zinzan Brooke. Photo / File
Zinzan Brooke. Photo / File

Rugby legend Zinzan Brooke will be helping to make the big day run smoothly for a couple who share their wedding day with William and Kate.

The former All Black No 8 is one of thousands of British hoteliers whose trade has been boosted by brides wanting to marry on April 29. The day will be a national holiday in the UK.

Father-of-five Brooke, 46, and his wife, Ali, have had to turn away dozens of would-be guests from their Frances Lodge, in the royal borough of Windsor, after agreeing to host a couple and their family for the wedding day and the rest of the weekend.

They will take up all 10 rooms of the former family home which Brooke, a trained plumber and gas fitter, designed and renovated himself. His wife designed the interior.

Despite also running three construction businesses, Brooke, who lives with his family in a nearby rental property, prides himself on being able to share a breakfast smoothie with his guests.

The wedding is being held at Windsor Guildhall, the town hall where Prince Charles married in 2005 and where a civil ceremony was held for Elton John and his partner, David Furnish, the same year.

Lodge manager Marcia Hogan told the Herald the couple booked three months ago, before other holiday-makers started calling.

"It's a bank holiday so people are looking to escape the city for the weekend. We've had a lot of interest from guests wanting to come that day but we've just had to say no."

London hotels are letting rooms for £40 ($82) to £12,000 a night on the long weekend as more than a million onlookers head in for the royal event.

The Brookes moved to Britain in 1997 where Brooke played for - and later coached - the Harlequins before a season with Coventry.

He moved to amateur league for Windsor Rugby Club but retired from rugby after injuring his head when he fell while getting out of a taxi in Spain in 2007.

- NZ Herald

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