A FAMILY struck down by chronic sickness bugs on their summer holiday today told of the conditions they faced after winning part of a £1.7million payout.
Nigel and Fiona Brown, from Hall Farm, Sunderland, took daughters Emmie and Katie away for a two-week break to the Holiday Village resort in Sarigerme, Turkey, in August 2009 after a recommendation by a friend.
But on the first evening of their holiday, they began to see the warning signs their hotel was not up to standard as they spotted wasps on the buffet food and had to send back dishes because they were undercooked.
Within days, Nigel, 43, Fiona, 43, and Emmie, now 13, but nine at the time, were unwell with sickness and diarrhoea which lasted up to five days.
When they returned home, Katie – who was just four at the time – became so ill with the same symptoms, she was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital and seen by her GP.
Her test results brought concerned environmental health officers to their door after it was found the youngster, now nine, had been infected by salmonella and cryptosporidium and they sought to find out where they had been picked up.
It took Katie months to recover, with the illness causing her to lose more than a stone in weight and miss a week of school at Benet Biscop Academy as she overcame the bugs.
Nigel, a line manager with HP in Washington, and Fiona, a neighbourhood support officer for Gentoo, are among customers of First Choice Holidays and Flights Limited who have been given a share of a £1.7million settlement because of problems with their stay at the resort.
The Browns were one of six lead cases in the High Court legal action.
They have had the cost of their holiday refunded and been given compensation for the illnesses their children suffered, while some have been given up to £25,000 each.
The action involved more than 160 children and 435 adults, with others falling ill from infections including campylobacter and e-coli.
Problems included faeces in the swimming pools; undercooked, left uncovered or reheated food; dirty crockery and cutlery; filthy public toilets and no hot water. Nigel said: “The first impressions were that it was lovely, but as time went on, we heard about illnesses and the pools were frequently closed because people had accidents in them.
“There were three pools and one would be closed a day.
“We raised concerns and we were just told it was being looked into.
“Katie was just four at the time and we were horrified by what happened.
“I looked for a travel solicitor and found Irwin Mitchell and it had dealt with a big case the year before, in 2008, at the same hotel and we were shocked at the fact there were these problems and they were still sending people there.”
Suki Chhokar, a partner in Irwin Mitchell’s travel litigation team, said: “We are delighted for our clients that they have received a fair settlement from the tour operator after enduring such terrible times at the Holiday Village hotel in Turkey.
“Clearly holidaymakers should not have been exposed to conditions like those that prevailed at the Holiday Village in Turkey, and the entire legal team at Irwin Mitchell is delighted that justice has finally been done for our clients.”