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Police called after dad sang Happy Birthday

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Birthday row: Colm and Cara Doherty

Birthday row: Colm and Cara Doherty

Party poopers: Clown Town in Colney Hatch Lane, Finchley

Party poopers: Clown Town in Colney Hatch Lane, Finchley

A FATHER has spoken of his disbelief after a staff member at a children’s play centre called the police when he defied an order not to sing Happy Birthday to his daughter.

Colm Doherty, 47, of Cricklewood, was told not to produce a cake or sing a birthday song to daughter Cara, eight, because the family had not bought a “birthday package”.

That was despite spending £320 on entry, food and drinks at Clown Town, at The Coppetts Centre, in Colney Hatch Lane, Finchley, on July 5.

A staff member tried to intervene as the group started to sing Happy Birthday after their meal, and when Mr Doherty stood in front of her to prevent any disruption to his daughter’s party, she called the police.

Mr Doherty said that wife Marie, 49, had phoned up the previous day to book a birthday slot at the centre, but was told there were no more birthday packages available.

The group, including six parents and 18 children, decided to go to Clown Town anyway, and had been given permission to use one of the centre’s two empty party booths by a waitress.

“When we arrived the place was virtually empty, and we asked to use one of the empty party booths, and a friendly waitress agreed,” Mr Doherty told The Press.

“But soon afterwards she came over to us and said she was in big trouble for letting us use the booth. We were then asked by another lady not to produce a cake or sing Happy Birthday.

“I thought this was ridiculous and we did have our cake and lit candles, and when this lady came striding over I went up to her and told her not to disrupt my daughter’s party and blocked her way. I understand she phoned the police afterwards.”

But Clown Town manager Ian Slazenger said: “Mr Doherty’s claims are simply untrue. The police became involved because the female member of staff who spoke to Mr Dougherty felt threatened by his intimidating behaviour during the incident.

“Had he been honest about the fact that he intended to bring his own food into the play area when he arrived that day, and had he chosen not to ignore our reasonable request not to do so, there would have been no need for our employees to become involved.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed that a call was received from a member of Clown Town staff alleging intimidating behaviour, but that no offences were alleged when officers spoke to both parties.


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Comments on this news item:

5 comments on this news item

Posted by : Paula, Jacksonville, | Monday 22/Jul/2013 | Report this comment

Clown Town lost its case when they took the L320 from this family to begin with. I’m relieved that for once, this did not happen in America. Just when you think the ridiculousness can’t get any ridiculous-er....

Posted by : PerkyPuppy, san | Sunday 21/Jul/2013 | Report this comment

This sounds like the employees got too involved in a power struggle that did not have to happen. Now they have tons of free publicity, all negative. If they simply could not tolerate the family, then an honest business would have refunded them every cent already spent in that facility. If I was a competitor, I would see this as a lesson of what I should NOT be doing.

Posted by : Leo, USA | Sunday 21/Jul/2013 | Report this comment

Heck why not bring your own beer to the Pub. Be cheaper. Who cares if the Pub owner has to pay the rent, the employees and all the rest of the overhead. I see, it’s ok because you ordered some fish and chips from him. And then turn around and try to block the Pub owner from ruining your party. I would have called the police too.

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