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Monday, 24 December, 2001, 15:10 GMT
Bunker man rejects lonely Christmas
Colin Wood
Colin Wood was fed up with playing chess alone
A man who paid 300 to spend Christmas in a nuclear bunker to get away from his family has left after just four days.

Colin Wood had bid in an internet auction for the chance to spend two weeks in Kelvedon Hatch bunker in Essex

But he left on Christmas Eve, ten days earlier than planned, and was said to be too lonely and desperate for a beer.

During the four days, Mr Wood, 30, from East Dulwich in London, had played chess with himself and read all the books he took down with him.

He has decided Christmas isn't that bad after all

Bunker auction spokesman

On leaving the bunker near Brentwood, said: "It was great but I was dying for a pint and the idea of spending another week was too much."

Mr Wood beat 50 other people on the auction on, to land the stay at the decommissioned cold war bunker.

A spokesman from the auctioneers told BBC News Online that Mr Wood had been in fairly good spirits when he left.

"He came out because he found himself a bit lonesome.

"Four days in a bunker was difficult. It made him feel differently about spending Christmas with his family.

"He said he was going for a pint with his dad and having Christmas with his family.

"He just hadn't really realised how difficult it would be.

'Prison sentence'

"He has decided Christmas isn't that bad after all."

Mr Wood had said he bid for the bunker because he was trying to avoid the anti-climax of Christmas.

"Do you ever get that feeling on Boxing Day thinking 'that was a bit of a let down' - that is what I am trying to avoid," he said last week.

But bunker owner Michael Parrish had warned the spell underground could feel more like a prison sentence.

Kelvedon Hatch is 30 metres underground and protected against atomic and biological attack by 10ft-thick reinforced concrete walls and blast doors made from tank metal.

It was designed for up to 600 military and civilian personnel to administer the country during and after a major nuclear strike.

It even had a bedroom for the prime minister, but no shower and government-issue toilet roll which says "use both sides".

Kelvedon Hatch is open most of the year for tourists.

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See also:

20 Dec 01 | England
Scrooge opts for bunker Christmas
26 Sep 01 | England
Nuclear bunker places for sale
14 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
Council chairman 'cancels Christmas'
22 Dec 00 | Health
Surviving the big day
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