Blind RAF veteran refused entry to Gosport hotel because of guide dog

Bob Beck with wife Meryl and guide dog Fitz in Lee-on-the-Solent
Bob Beck with wife Meryl and guide dog Fitz in Lee-on-the-Solent

Housing plan to be decided

  • Bob and Meryl Beck were refused entry from The Haven Guesthouse because of Bob’s guide dog
  • They say they were told Fitz could sleep in the car
  • The owner broke the law under the Equality Act 2010
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A BLIND RAF veteran was left disgusted as he was turned away from a hotel for having a guide dog with him.

Bob Beck, 77, and his wife, Meryl, are on a short break in Lee-on-the-Solent from Leamington Spa.

‘A man then came to the door and started being quite aggressive towards us and told us that the dog could sleep in the car.’

Bob Beck

But they were left in shock when they were told they were not allowed to stay at The Haven in Bury Road, Gosport because of Bob’s dog Fitz.

Colin Bodenham, owner of The Haven, has since apologised to Mr Beck, saying he and his wife Sue were unaware it was the law to accept blind people with guide dogs and they have now changed their policy.

Mr Beck, who went blind nine months ago after suffering from glaucoma for 30 years, said: ‘We couldn’t believe it – we were utterly shocked. We were recommended the hotel by another guesthouse we usually stay in. When we arrived at The Haven, a woman told us we couldn’t stay with the dog.

‘A man then came to the door and told us the dog could sleep in the car.

‘I showed him my card that says I’m allowed to bring Fitz wherever I go, and told him he was going against the law, but he was having none of it.

‘I’ve never experienced anything like this. We’ve eaten in posh restaurants and they’ve never had a problem.’

Meryl said: ‘It’s not like Fitz isn’t clean. He is spotless as we wash him every morning.’

Katie Smith, an engagement officer for Guide Dogs Hampshire, said: ‘Under the Equality Act 2010, everyone has the right to the same service. Providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for people who are blind or partially sighted.’

In response, Mr Bodenham said: ‘Mr Beck caught us on the hop and the card he showed us did not state he had a guide dog.

‘We don’t allow dogs due to health and safety for other guests. But after this happened, I spoke to the Blind Association and we’ve found out the law.

‘We made a mistake and have apologised to Mr Beck, and we will make the necessary changes to ensure this does not happen again.’