Sheffield mum’s heartbreak as she tells family £5,000 Thomas Cook wedding in Cyprus is cancelled

A Sheffield mum has opened up about the heartbreaking moment she told her three young children their £5,000 Thomas Cook holiday to Cyprus was cancelled.

By Dan Windham
Saturday, 28th September 2019, 1:24 pm

Kirsty Ward, aged 41, was due to marry her sweetheart Craig, 36, in the East Mediterranean country on October 23 after more than two years planning.

The Intake couple, who have been together for 15 years, were due to fly out on a Thomas Cook package holiday on October 15 after shelling out £5,000.

But they watched in horror on Monday morning as the news was confirmed that the travel company had collapsed.

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Craig and Kirsty

She said: “We were so excited after booking our dream holiday in Cyprus and planning it for two years but on Monday morning, it all collapsed.

“We realised at around 2am that we would not be going on this holiday and we were at rock bottom. We were told we would have to rebook the whole holiday.

“But, the problem was it would have cost twice as much to book it all again because rival travel companies had raised prices after Thomas Cook went out of buisiness.

“It was heartbreaking watching the news but it was even worse having to tell the kids.”

Kirsty took the kids to school on Monday knowing that their dream wedding had been cancelled and was forced to break the devastating news later that day.

“After two years of excitement it was so difficult telling them that we would not be going to Cyprus,” Kirsty said.

“My eight-year-old has had a countdown for ages and just that morning she came in and told us it was 22 days until we go away.

“That was the hardest part of all of this. We sat them down and it was utterly heartbreaking.”

Thomas Cook’s demise means around 9,000 UK workers face job losses and 150,000 holidaymakers were stranded abroad.

Thankfully for the couple, Harrogate hotelier Simon Cotton stepped in and offered to hold Kirsty and Craig’s dream wedding at the White Hart Hotel.

“It’s been crazy. We were at rock bottom at the start of the week thinking there’s nothing we can do until we got that amazing phone call from Simon,” Kirsty explained.

“He offered to put the wedding on in Harrogate which was amazing. We travelled down there and met the mayor and mayoress, we couldn’t be more excited.

“We know it’s not the warm weather of Cyprus but we don’t care. We just want to get married to each other.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about having that day and sharing it with everyone we love. For someone we don’t know to come forward and help us is amazing.”

The Civil Aviation Authority launched the UK's largest peacetime repatriation on Monday, bringing 14,700 Thomas Cook customers home on 64 flights.

That was 95 per cent of the holidaymakers who were originally booked to fly home on that day.

A further 135,000 passengers are expected to be brought back on rescue flights over the next 13 days, including 16,800 on 74 flights on Tuesday.

The operation is expected to cost approximately £100 million.