Wedding horror law fight

ILLNESS: Lynn Watson with grandchildren Callum and Charlie Swinhoe
ILLNESS: Lynn Watson with grandchildren Callum and Charlie Swinhoe

A Leyland family, whose dream honeymoon and silver wedding celebrations were ruined when they fell ill on holiday, are taking legal action against the tour operator.

Melissa and Paul Swinhoe had their honeymoon ruined, and their parents Lynn and David Watson, also from Leyland, had their silver wedding celebrations wrecked when they contracted a parasitic illness at a hotel in Altinkum, Turkey.

Grandchildren Connah, eight, Cameron, six, and two-year-old Callum, were also struck down with illness on the holiday last August.

Now, the family have spoken of their holiday hell, and say tour operator First Choice’s refusal to accept responsibility has forced them to take legal action.

Melissa, 25, of Leyland Lane, said: “We were extremely disappointed with the conditions at the resort. It was supposed to be a five-star resort, but ended up being a total nightmare.

“Our holiday was meant to be a celebration of two marriages, but in the end there was little time to celebrate and we were just delighted to return home.

“The hotel served food which had already been leftover from earlier meals. It was disgusting.”

Melissa was infected with Giardia - a parasitic infection of the intestine which can occur through ingesting or coming into contact with contaminated food or water.

It took three months before the family were given a clean bill of health, they say.

Melissa’s mum Lynn, 63, of Cherrywood Close, paid approximately £5,000 for the dream break so the family could celebrate both landmarks together.

She was worst affected by the illness, dropping 12lbs in weight.

She said: “It really was the holiday from hell but not only that I was ill for three months after the holiday.

“I couldn’t go out of the house because I was worried that I would need to go to the toilet. It would come from nowhere.

“It made me feel really, really down that what was supposed to be such a nice thing turned out so bad.”

Law firm Irwin Mitchell, which has taken up the family’s case, is now urging First Choice to stop sending guests to the resort, unless hygiene standards are improved.

David Sumner, a travel law specialist at the firm, said: “We are very concerned that our clients suffered severe food poisoning.

“We will now look to work with tour operator First Choice and hope that they will work with us to resolve the matter on behalf of our clients promptly and amicably.

“In the meantime, unless hygiene standards at the hotel dramatically improve, we urge First Choice and all tour operators to stop sending guests to the resort.”

The family say they were offered £400 compensation from First Choice - which they turned down.

A Fist Choice spokesman said: “At this time, the information we have received from their solicitors is not substantial enough to be able to conduct a full investigation.

“We are therefore awaiting further contact from the law firm regarding these allegations.

“Instead of playing this matter out in the press, which we believe is not in the best interests of the law firm’s clients – our customers – we would encourage the law firm to work with us directly, providing us with the information needed. This will enable this matter to be resolved in as speedy and amicable a manner as possible.

“First Choice would like to assure all of our customers that we closely audit all the hotels to which we operate to ensure that the health, safety, hygiene and comfort levels our customers expect are maintained. For this reason, package holidays offer the most wide-ranging health and safety measures available and therefore continue to be the safest and most protected way for customers to take holidays.”