Police are investigating after a gay couple about to marry were sent a poison pen letter from someone in their village – warning the reception should be held elsewhere.
Callum Hodge and Ashley Jenkins who live in the Cotswolds announced their engagement and received nothing but love and support from friends and family.
But little did they know that some people in Callum’s home of Norton Malreward in Somerset – population just 246 – were plotting to ruin their special day.
Four months before the wedding reception held at Callum’s parents’ private barn conversion, his mum Janie – a post lady – received a letter.
It attacked their plans to hold the reception in the village after the couple tied the knot in nearby Bristol.
She was devastated when the anonymous note dropped through her letterbox claiming it was the “consensus of the village” the party should held somewhere else.
The homophobic author said Callum ”should be ashamed of himself for putting his grandparents through this”.
It said he would no longer “be welcome in heaven” and said Janie needed to lead him down a “new path”.
Janie didn’t tell a soul about the letter and kept it to herself until after the wedding in July – which professional dog walker Callum says was everything he dreamt it’d be.
But she says she spent the lead up to the big day worried sick villagers were plotting a riot or protest that would spoil what’s supposed to be the best day of her son’s life.
“I was absolutely gobsmacked and just devastated to read it”, said Janie, 59.
“It was addressed to me and said it was the consensus of the village that if the wedding was going to happen then it should do so far, far away from the village.
“It said I should show Callum down a new path.
“I didn’t want to speak to anyone or acknowledge anyone in the village because I thought everyone was out to get us.
“It is vile. It made me feel completely unwelcome in the village. The letter is so cruel and it made me very upset.
“I was so worried something would happen on the wedding day, like a protest or something. This person tried to ruin our day and it is so hateful.”
Mum-of-four Janie reported the letter to Avon and Somerset Police on the same day it arrived at her house.
The letter said: “Callum should be ashamed of himself for putting his grandparents through this. He won’t go to heaven.
“You need to lead him down a new path in life. The wedding should take place far, far away from the village. This is the consensus of the village.”
It is now being treated as a hate crime and a criminal investigation is still underway, but police are still unsure who is responsible for sending the letter.
Janie kept the letter to herself out of fear it would ruin the day for Callum, a dog walker, if he found out about it before the ceremony.
She broke the news to him about the letter a week after the “wonderful” family day went ahead without a hitch.
He says felt angry and upset and has hit back at the “pathetic low life” who sent the homophobic letter to his mum.
Callum, who lives with dressage rider, Ashley, 27, in Evenlode, Gloucestershire, said: “I found it really upsetting. I lived in that village for 29 years.
“It is evil. We are free to do whatever we want on our private land. It’s a homophobic attack.
“I feel pity for that person. Why do they feel as though they have a right to do that, to try to ruin our day. I was more angry at how it made my mum feel.
“She was made to feel completely unwelcome in the community. She felt like an outcast.
“To think that we probably have met that person makes me sad. They are pathetic and made up lies to attack us.
“But it didn’t spoil anything. We had the most amazing day and the room was filled with so much love.”
Callum married the love of his life, Ashley, on July 13 which just so happened to be Bristol Gay Pride day.
They wed at Bristol Registry Office before heading off to Callum’s parents house for the reception and after party.
The pair met ten years ago during a night out in Bristol and have only had eyes for one another ever since.
Their wedding day was “perfect”, said Callum, who has been inundated with support from villagers in Norton Malreward.
He took to Facebook to vent his frustration at the letter, which had been typed on a computer and posted through his parents’ front door.
Off the back of that people rallied around the family and this proved to them that it wasn’t the consensus of the village for the wedding to be banished and confirmed their suspicions the letter was penned by one “hateful” individual.
Callum said: “We had an amazing day and to say we are now husband and husband means so much to us.
“It felt amazing to get married. We love each other but are like best friends too.
“After that so many people came to the house or stopped us in the street to say it had nothing to do with them.
“The amount of support we received showed it wasn’t the village that felt like it as a whole.
“It is just some bigoted individual.”
Janie added: “We have had so much support from so many people in the village. People have come to the house to say it had nothing to do with them.
“The whole village rallied around us.”
Callum’s family went on to write a letter in response to the author of the hate mail asking them to come forward.
It was published in the latest edition of the village newsletter but as of yet, the person behind the mail still hasn’t made themselves known to the family.
A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: “We have been advised of a letter which we were treating as a potential hate mail.
“The matter has been filed pending any further information or evidence. Anyone able to help is asked to contact us, quoting reference 5219059204.”