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Couple's 'bucket list' holiday cancelled by tour operator at the last minute

Hamilton's Coach Holidays cancelled the trip days before it was due to leave. Photo: Paul Williams

A former serviceman with a terminal illness has had his "bucket list" river cruise cancelled by a holiday company in St Austell at the last minute.

Barry Ironton and his wife Linda, from Helston, paid more than £2,000 to Hamilton Coach Holidays for a cruise along the River Danube.

The couple were due to leave early on Monday morning, but over the weekend they "received a scrap of paper" saying their trip had been cancelled.

The postman arrived and there was just a sheet of paper with Hamiltons written across the top. No date, no salutation, no signature, basically saying "due to one of our agents letting us down, we have had to cancel your holiday".

– Barry Ironton
Credit: ITV West Country

Mr Ironton says he drove to the office in St Austell twice, but it was closed and he was unable to speak to anyone.

However he has since received an email from the company owner assuring him they would get a refund.

The holiday was advertised to pass through some major European cities. Credit: ITV West Country

Mr Ironton says he feels let down as he hoped for one final holiday.

Linda Ironton says she feels for her husband.

He was just absolutely shattered. It had just seemed to all fall into place: the timing, the price. It just seemed a good deal and it was too good to be true.

– Linda Ironton

Cornwall Council says its Trading Standards officers are aware of some customers' concern about their holiday bookings with Hamilton’s Coach Holidays Ltd.

We have not been able to confirm the trading status of the company at present. Where consumers have booked package holidays (which include a combination of transport, accommodation or other tourist services) there is a legal requirement that monies are protected in the event of the operator becoming insolvent. The details on how to claim should be included within the information provided by the operator at the time of booking.

At this time we would advise customers to check any paperwork they were issued and continue to attempt the company for more information.

For further advice regarding your consumer rights, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

For press enquiries regarding the protections provided by the Package Travel Regulations, 01268 582240 pressoffice@tsi.org.uk

– Cornwall Council

ITV West Country has approached Hamilton Coach Holidays for a comment, and is waiting for a response.