A RETIRED aircraft engineer said his stay at a Tunisian holiday resort was ruined after he developed serious gastric illness.

Neil Bamford, 62, from Chorley, said he developed 'devastating' symptoms, including severe vomiting and abdominal pain, four days into his week-long break at the Magic Life Manar resort, booked through tour operator TUI, with his wife Sandra.

Mr Bamford said the problems proved so severe that he not only required treatment from a doctor while at the resort in September, but further support from his own GP as the symptoms persisted following his return to the UK.

That sparked him to contact law firm Irwin Mitchell which is now investigating the cause of Mr Bamford’s illness.

Mr Bamford alleges that other guests complained about losing weight on the hotel, having developed an illness at the hotel.

He said that was due to raw chicken allegedly being added to cooked meat and re-heated meals being served still frozen in places.

Mr Bamford: “The illness was absolutely horrendous and meant that the rest of the holiday was just completely written off. Even though I saw a doctor I could barely leave my room and, to make matters worse, I was so reliant on my wife that she did not get to enjoy the break either.

“The whole holiday was completely ruined and it is devastating to think that we were just desperate to get back home. It was a nightmare and we will always remember the holiday for all of the wrong reasons.”

He added: “I had seen problems like at times meals being reheated in the microwave, as well as dishes like lasagne on occasions being served when they were still frozen in the middle. I also saw chefs on occasions adding raw chicken to cooked chicken and at some points noticed cockroaches outside of the restaurant. Despite this, I never thought for a second that I would fall ill.

“I am certain that I was not the only one affected either, as some holidaymakers on the way home also complained about problems and talked about the amount of weight they’d lost due to the illness. I was also concerned to read the number of trip advisor reviews which refer to illness and concerns with cleanliness in the resort. It is shocking to think about what I went through and it is clear that I deserve answers regarding what has happened.”

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Jennifer Mullins, the specialist travel lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is investigating Mr Bamford’s case, said: “We are hugely concerned by the first-hand account provided to us and we have now commenced investigations into Neil’s illness.

“A case like this highlights how the seriousness of holiday illness problems should never be downplayed, with Neil’s symptoms not only ruining his precious time away with his wife but also affecting him on his return to the UK.

“We are determined to help him gain answers regarding these problems and hope that our work will ensure that lessons can be learned, so that no one else suffers in a similar manner in the future.

“We have already begun our own investigation into the holiday and are keen to determine what caused Neil to fall ill. As part of our work and to assist with our investigations, we would be keen to hear from anyone else who may also have been affected by illness whilst staying at the Magic Life Manar, Tunisia.”

A TUI UK spokesperson: “We are very sorry to hear of Mr Bamford’s experience. As this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.”