British couple are stranded with 12 guests after their £7,000 wedding at a Bulgarian ski resort was cancelled and the town placed on lockdown – and it could be a MONTH before they can fly home
- EXCLUSIVE: Faye North, 36, and Steve Gill, 49, travelled to Bulgaria last week
- Couple, who met 11 years ago at work at South Yorkshire Police, were to wed
- But town shut town as a result of coronavirus, and hotel cancelled their wedding
- They are now on lockdown and have told they could be there for a month
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
A British couple have been left stranded overseas after their dream destination wedding at a Bulgarian ski resort was cancelled and the town placed on lockdown amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Faye North, 36, and Steve Gill, 49, from Nottinghamshire, along with 60 guests, flew from the UK to the Bansko ski resort, in south-west Bulgaria, last week, ahead of their wedding on March 15.
The would-be-weds, both police officers with South Yorkshire Police, paid and booked for the big day at the five-star Premier Luxury Mountain Resort in advance, and are now £7,000 out of pocket after their nuptials were cancelled with less than 24 hours notice when the resort town was placed on lockdown.
While some of their guests were able to fly out of the country on March 17, Faye, Steve and 12 other guests, including two children, had their flights booked for March 19.
However they are now being told they are not allowed to leave the hotel and might not be able to fly for up to a month due to strict travel restrictions being enforced by local police.
Faye North, 36, and Steve Gill, 49, from Nottinghamshire, travelled to the Bankso ski resort in Bulgaria last week with 60 guest to tie the knot after 11 years together but they may now be stuck in the town for a month, as they’ve been told they can’t leave. Despite the wedding being cancelled, Faye decided to put of her dress for photos. Steve is pictured still in ski gear and Faye hasn’t had her hair or make-up done
Faye told Femail: ‘The hotel won’t give us a refund at all. We saved up for years to have the wedding and we can’t afford to have another wedding at home just yet.
‘It’s the worst experience ever. I have been so excited for my wedding for all these months, as any bride would be. All my guests were looking forward to it also, none of us ever imagined this would happen- it’s just been one disaster after another. I don’t expect I’ll be able to get married for a while.
‘Wedding was booked and paid for in advance for March 15. We had 60 guests, including six other police from South Yorkshire, come and they were all staying here for the week.
‘We had a full ceremony planned with a meal and a disco. Each guest has spent about £2,000 per family of three on being here for the week.
‘We arrived on the March 12 and there was no coronavirus problems in Bulgaria on arrival. In all honesty there is very little now.
The 60 guests, some pictured skiing, paid £2000 each for a family of three for a week at the resort. While the majority have been able to fly home, Steve, Faye and 12 guests are stranded
‘On Saturday March 14 the town went on lockdown and all bars restaurants etc were immediately closed and the hotel told me at 3pm the wedding was cancelled.
‘Since this news we’ve had to eat in the hotel via room service only and could only go to supermarkets.’
The couple said they tried to change their flights to leave as quickly as possible but weren’t able to get through to easyJet, whose website said there were no flights available.
They were eventually told they would be able to get a transfer to the airport on Thursday 19 as planned, but now the town has been shut down they can’t leave.
‘The majority of our group has left on March 17 leaving 14 of us here, 12 adults and 2 children’ Faye added.
Faye is pictured in her wedding dress with her bridesmaids, they dressed up to have their pictures taken despite no wedding. The couple said they are not being offered a refund
‘Now we’ve been told we’re not allowed out of the town and could be here for a month.’
Wary of the developing crisis, Faye checked if there were any cases of coronavirus in the country before they left.
‘We were told it was safe to attend. I emailed about the wedding and they said it was all okay. There were no cases of coronavirus here at all.’
But a few days after arriving Faye was called to the hotel lobby were guests were told not to use the restaurant, spa or bar.
‘They then just came and told me quietly that the wedding had to be cancelled’.
Faye is in touch with the British embassy but says she hasn’t been able to get an answer from easyJet.
‘We haven’t been given any advice at all. It’s been last minute decisions from the day everything went on lockdown.
Twelve guests, including two children (one pictured) are currently stranded at the hotel with no way of getting home. They have been told it might be a month before they can fly
‘We’ve been told tonight [Tuesday] the town is on quarantine and if we leave hotel we could be arrested or fined.
‘We’re all very upset and frightened as we have nowhere to go once we’re thrown out the hotel.
‘The hotel staff themselves have been really helpful. They were genuinely upset about the wedding and have been gutted the wedding was cancelled and have been trying to help us get home.’
Faye added they haven’t been able to speak to their insurer yet as they’ve been trying to get home and they won’t be able to return to work for two weeks.
Steve added that the local police were blaming British tourists for the problem and making them feel ostracised at the resort.
‘The hotel manager sorted transfers but they’ve shut the town border and now we can’t get out out. They want us out but they’re keeping us here. We’ll sleep in the airport if we have to, we just want to get home.
Bulgaria currently has 67 cases of coronavirus and two deaths, while the UK has 1960 cases and 56 deaths.
Today, UK citizens were told to avoid all non-essential travel anywhere in the world today as the Government tried to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britons should avoid travel ‘globally’ under new travel advice from the Foreign Office.
The new rules will initially be in place for 30 days but will be ‘subject to ongoing revision’, he told the House of Commons.
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