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Thomas Cook latest – British couple fear for £20k Cyprus wedding as 26 guests due to fly out amid holiday firm crisis

A BRIT couple fear for their £20,000 dream wedding in Cyprus as Thomas Cook nears collapse.

Matthew Moore, 30, and his partner Aaron, 28, were set to fly from Belfast to Cyprus in two weeks' time for their wedding – but have been left in limbo.

They have 26 wedding guests who have also paid for flights to Cyprus and have been planning their big day for almost two years.

They fear they're going to be left out of pocket for the dresses, suits, flowers and decorations they've already paid for if Thomas Cook goes bust.

The 178-year-old British travel firm faces going bust at 11.59 tonight unless £200million can be secured to pay creditors.

Matthew, from Lurgan in County Armagh, told the Sun Online: "We've been planning the wedding from last April – we are hoping to marry in Protaras, in Cyprus, there's 26 wedding guests.

"Our flights are due out in two weeks' time and then a lot of the other guests are due to come out the week after.

"There's only one flight that goes out from Belfast to Larnaca with Thomas Cook, so you can't fly out with any other airline.

"Everything else has been sorted out in Cyprus. At the moment we don't know what to do. The only other option would be to fly from Dublin to Paphos but there's no guarantee there's seats available on those flights.

"There's no other airline that flies from Northern Ireland to Cyprus. If Thomas Cook goes go under, we'll be left with the suits, flowers, money all paid for.

"We're still hoping at the minute that we'll be able to go. We've booked three weeks off for this. At the minute it's too late to book anywhere [at home].

"All the stress of planning a wedding is hard enough but this is causing serious anxiety and sleepless nights."

COUPLE IN LIMBO

Matthew said the flights had cost around £400 each.

He said: "A few of the guests have been asking us whether we know what's going on..but we're just telling them what we're getting told by Thomas Cook. They're contacting us saying they're stressed and we're trying to tell them 'well can you understand how stressed we are?'

"If it was a normal holiday it wouldn't be so bad but it's a wedding."

The couple have forked out around £20,000 in total for their dream day.

Matthew, who has been in a relationship with Aaron for five years, added: "A cousin of mine got married in Cyprus two years ago and we just fell in love with the place. We really wanted to get married there.

"These past few days have been very traumatising for my partner and I, we had all the joys of having finalised everything and getting to relax to the lead up and now we don't know where we stand."

FIRM ON THE BRINK

The troubled operator hoped to seal a rescue led by China's Fosun, owner of Club Med, this week.

But its lenders, which include about 10 banks led by taxpayer-saved Royal Bank of Scotland, demanded the travel company find an extra £200m.

A source said: "This is a doomsday scenario, but you could see tourist hotspots effectively turned into refugee camps."

The apocalyptic warnings will worry hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers who face being stranded abroad, unable to attend key events such as weddings or return to work, if the company cannot be rescued this weekend.

James Hyam from Lichfield, Staffordshire, who is on honeymoon with his wife Rebecca in Cancun, Mexico, said the uncertainty had "transformed a nice, relaxing honeymoon holiday to a Twitter frenzy trying to find out what happens next".

Meanwhile Joanne Wright, 35, and fiancé Paul Anderson, 30, face losing £7,000 if their holiday to Playa Pesquera in Cuba for their wedding in less than a month does not go ahead.

Their children – flower girls Phoebe, 12, Hollie, two, and best man Alfie, five, are set to fly out for the family wedding.

Miss Wright, from Eastriggs, Dumfries and Galloway, told the Scottish Mail on Sunday: "I'm totally stressed and devastated. It's all booked and paid for, there's 24 of us going. For the five of us it's £7,000, which we finished paying in the summer."

BRITS 'HELD HOSTAGE'

Elsewhere Brit holidaymakers in Tunisia told how they were being "held hostage" in hotels last night.

Gates were locked and guests were warned they had to settle up with their hotels — despite having already paid Thomas Cook.

Three coaches that turned up to take travellers to the airport were turned away by staff at Les Orangers in Hammamet.

Claire Simpson, who was due to fly home to Manchester last night, told The Sun: “Les Orangers have locked the gates to the hotel and are keeping people hostage.

"Three buses came to take people to the airport and they’ve been turned away.

"They are claiming Thomas Cook hasn’t paid them, so are demanding that we pay them.”

She said the hotel had stationed security guards along the beach so holiday-makers “couldn’t escape”.

One tourist claimed an OAP was charged £2,500 on her credit card, and another person had to pay £1,800 to get the keys to their room.

A £100m flight operation to repatriate more than 160,000 British tourists, called Operation Matterhorn, is ready to be launched by the government today if last-ditch talks fail.

People on package holidays are Atol-protected, meaning the government would have to launch the biggest peacetime repatriation of British citizens at an estimated cost of £600m to the taxpayer.

The historic company, saddled with debts of about £1.7bn, has been hit by fierce competition from low-cost airlines and online firms such as Airbnb.

Were the 178-year-old company to go bust, some 9,000 British jobs potentially could be lost, and 21,000 worldwide.



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