An angry couple claim they were escorted off a Butlin’s resort and forced to cut short their £1,500 holiday after their three year-old girl was ‘a little sick’.
Catherine McDonnell, 27, and husband Francis were enjoying a week-long break with daughter Elisabeth when the youngster was sick.
But after asking for a clean bed sheet Catherine claims staff gave them an ultimatum of staying in their apartment for 48 hours in quarantine while they were brought food – or leave the site completely.
When the family refused to do either they claim Butlin’s deactivated their access cards meaning they could not enter their rooms or get access to food.
And when they called reception again to gain entry to their rooms a security guard arrived and they were asked to leave the popular site at Skegness in North East Lincolnshire.
Fuming Francis, 41, compared actions of the holiday camp to a “totalitarian state”.
Catherine said: “It’s just absolutely ludicrous – I still can’t believe it.
“The holiday itself was great, the food was fine, the entertainment was really good – but we’re kicking up a fuss because we were forced to leave in such a ridiculous way.
“If my daughter was really that contagious with an illness – do you think we would want to keep her at Butlin’s instead of taking her home?”
The family, from Hull, East Yorks., who both work in education, arrived at the site last Friday (Aug 19) and planned to stay a week until their visit was abruptly cut short when Elisabeth was sick on Tuesday night (Aug 23).
Elisabeth was “up and jumping around” by 6am on the Wednesday morning, and Catherine put her sickness down to over-excitement about being on holiday.
But after she rang the reception to ask for some more bed sheets, she was told that Butlins’ policy was to either quarantine or ask a family to leave.
Catherine says she offered to take her daughter to a nearby walk-in centre to prove she wasn’t ill, but Butlins refused – and the angry mum says no one from the holiday company even came to see Elisabeth themselves.
Catherine said: “Elizabeth was a little bit sick on sheets and I rang guest services to ask for another sheet – but I wish I hadn’t.
“She woke up fine, performed on stage, made the crowd laugh and was then evicted.
“I just can’t believe how we’ve been treated – kids get sick all the time and it doesn’t mean they’re ill. She’s not contagious.
“She played all day with children in neighbouring apartments who thought the whole things was a massive overreaction.
“She has no other symptoms – and was happily playing with all the other children while we packed up our belongings.”
She added: “Elizabeth was absolutely devastated. She cried all the way home because we had to leave early – we’d planned all our activities for the Wednesday and she knew we were staying two more days there.
“Not one person came to see Elisabeth to assess whether she was ill or not – which she clearly wasn’t.
“They made this decision on the basis of a phone call from me asking for some clean sheets.”
Catherine said her daughter was probably made ill by eating “rubbish” and “running around all day in the sun”.
She said that going in the pool and “probably swallowing chlorine” had made her daughter be sick.
Francis said: “If she [Elizabeth] had convulsions or something like that I would understand but she was just a little bit sick – it was like they are trying to run a totalitarian state.
“I paid £1,500 for this holiday – so why should I not be able to enjoy it?
“If you have children, you know that this type of illness is perfectly normal and Elisabeth was fine a couple of hours later, so it would have been stupid to leave early.
“Instead, someone on the phone, with no medical training, is making a clinical diagnosis that our daughter was contagious and a danger to other people. It was a total farce.”
She had called reception to ask for extra sheets after Elisabeth had been sick – but was shocked when staff arrived with yellow contamination bags and asked them to bag up the dirty sheets themselves. When they refused they found themselves asked to leave the site by security staff on the Wednesday afternoon (Aug 24).
To make matters worse, the family also had guests that day meaning Mr McDonnell’s disabled mother and a friend with a six-week-old baby were left without access to the rooms.
In a letter to the family Butlin’s said they were asked to leave due to their daughter having a ‘contagious disease’.
It said: “It is stated in our terms and conditions that should Butlin’s become aware, or have reasonable grounds for suspicion, that a guest has contracted a contagious disease that has the potential to infect a large number of people, they and their party will be required to leave the resort.”
A Butlin’s spokeswoman said the decision to evict the McDonnell family was “regrettable” and they had been offered a cash refund for the remainder of their holiday as a “good will gesture.”
She said: “It is always a regrettable decision to ask guests to leave before the end of their break, but when it comes to potentially contagious illnesses we will always put the interests of our guests and team first, and adhere to strict procedures in an attempt to restrict the spread of the illness.
“As a gesture of goodwill, Mr and Mrs McDonnell were offered a cash refund to cover the remainder of their intended stay with us.
“We regret that Mr and Mrs McDonnell’s daughter was unwell, and we hope she has made a full recovery, however the health and safety of our guests is always paramount.”
The family have since said that they will not accept the cash refund, and Catherine added: “I would just like an apology.”