'Disgusted' close friends of Hi-de-Hi! actress who died were denied theatre ticket refund for her show despite it clashing with her memorial.

Rebecca Probert, from Great Witley, said the family had planned to see their long-standing friend Ruth Madoc play Muriel in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at Wolverhampton Grand.

However, the actress died on December 9 last year and, in a sad twist of fate, a planned memorial in London now clashes with the date they were due to watch the show and then enjoy dinner with her friend afterwards. 

They claim Wolverhampton Grand Theatre would not give them a refund for the Saturday, April 1 show as they had not taken out £5 insurance. 

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They are upset that even after explaining the unusual circumstances surrounding the cancellation the theatre company will not "even meet them halfway".

However, the theatre has pointed out it is a charity, terms and conditions are explained to guests and the show is still going ahead.

Miss Probert, age 47, said: "They point blank refused because of policy and procedure. 

"They seem to be saying 'it is your fault you should have taken out insurance' but they won't even meet me halfway. 

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"I think the world has gone mad with rules and it's becoming less about trying to be a bit more human about things.

"I should have taken insurance, but this was a friend, there was no way we weren't going to make it because we were going for dinner with Ruth afterwards and catch up."

The family has known the star for over 20 years and Miss Probert's dad Sion Probert even played a teddy boy alongside the actress in Hi-de-Hi! 

Miss Probert said: "I bought the tickets in good faith, but you don't expect your friend to die.

"I asked the theatre if they can give me a refund or if I can swap the tickets for another show, but they refused.

"They said you should've taken insurance out, but you would think that under such severe circumstances, something could be done.

"I'm disgusted by their decision. 

"They said sorry, but I don't think other theatres would behave like that.

"It is very harsh and very unsympathetic." 

Vicky Price, associate director at the theatre, said: "We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Ruth Madoc. Ruth performed at The Grand several times and she was always a joy to have in the building and on stage.

"Ruth was due to star in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in March and she will be missed from this production, but it will still go ahead.

"Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is a charity and provides many services and support to our loyal patrons.

"It states very clearly in our terms and conditions that we do not refund or exchange tickets and we adhere to this for all customers.”