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Couple split after groom suffered heart attack leaving them stranded in Spain

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A RETIRED couple who spent their life-savings on a wedding cruise have split after he suffered a heart attack - and everything that could possibly go wrong did.

Tony Sheldon, 58 and bride-to-be Sue Boyce, 67, splashed out their combined life savings of £10,000 on the P&O Mediterranean Arcadia cruise for the once-in-a-lifetime wedding and honeymoon.

But in a series of unfortunate events, the pair were left stranded in Spain after Tony suffered a near-fatal heart attack and was rushed to intensive care with a collapsed artery.

The couple were hit with a £32,000 hospital bill after they claim bungling cruise bosses then sent Tony to an expensive private hospital, instead of a public one he says would have treated him for free.

And Tony's insurance is now refusing to help pay for the £32,000 hospital bill the couple were handed

Tony said: "We put all our savings together for this once in a lifetime dream cruise – but it turned out to be a nightmare from hell.

“But instead the ordeal caused Sue and I to split, as we couldn’t take the stress and the pain."

After Tony was treated, the couple were left stranded in Spain when they discovered the ship, and all their luggage, had left without them.

It took the couple seven days to get home as Tony couldn't fly.

And to make matters worse, when their luggage was returned they discovered retired hairdresser and manicurist Sue’s £3,000 wedding dress "bundled up as if a child had packed it".

The couple, from Tamworth, Staffs, are now facing the huge medical bill after Tony's insurance refused to pay up as he forgot to disclose a minor stroke.

Tony, a semi-retired property and garden maintenance worker, said: "This should have been our dream wedding and we have been left with a huge bill and no way of getting that money together again.

"At our age, it would be impossible to earn that amount again. I have never been in debt in my life and now I’ve been left depressed and heartbroken by the whole ordeal.”

Tony discharged himself from the overseas hospital after being told he needed further surgery at an extra cost of £17,000 on top of the bill for his initial care.

Tony said: “I was still quite ill but I knew I needed to get back to the UK so I could have my second operation.

"We were so glad to be home after our seven day trek back to the UK, but felt like we had lived as tramps and were totally devastated that we never got to have the dream holiday and honeymoon we had so longed for."

And he said he was less than impressed with P&O, saying: "P&O offered us a miserly £500 each which is disgusting, the cost of our lost and damaged goods alone would have been at least £1,200.

"With the cost of the hospital bill, the cost of the cruise and the money to get home, we have lost around £50,000."

Tony and Sue had fallen in love after a whirlwind romance, getting engaged after four months together.

A P&O Cruises spokesman said: ”Our priority is always the well-being, swiftest and most suitable treatment for any guest needing medical attention.

"The paramedics who attend the ship have local knowledge of which hospitals have which services and medical specialist facilities.

"Not all public hospitals have the appropriate facilities to treat certain conditions or the equipment for certain tests so it is not uncommon for a private hospital to be needed on these occasions.

"Our care team was in touch daily with the couple to offer all necessary support."

A spokesperson from AXA insurance said they sympathised with Mr Sheldon's case but his claim was denied as he "hadn’t declared his pre-existing medical conditions".

They said: "We would encourage all holidaymakers, whether they have standalone travel insurance or cover with a packaged account, to keep their insurer updated with their medical conditions to ensure that their policy remains valid.

"We wish Mr Sheldon a speedy recovery."

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