THE ITALIAN SOB: Fenland holiday company leave elderly couple 30 miles from hotel

AN ELDERLY couple accused a Fenland holiday firm of ruining their first trip to Italy after their coach driver abandoned them more than 30 miles from their hotel.

Neville and Christine Fletcher claim the company showed a “lack of compassion” by leaving them stranded in the 100-degree heat of San Marino. But March-based Fenn Holidays refute any wrongdoing and say everyone except the couple returned to the coach on time.

The Fletchers, who had misheard instructions on what time to return to the coach, had to spend 180 Euros to get a taxi back from the excursion.

Mr Fletcher, 71, who has had three heart attacks and suffers from diabetes, said: “Suddenly we were stuck in a foreign country, in scorching heat, without being able to speak a word of Italian. Should the driver really have left two pensioners like that?”

A spokesman for Fenn Holidays - run by Peter and Margaret Fenn - said the driver waited for 20 minutes and then went to look for the missing passengers.

They said all 30 of the other clients were back at the correct time and that a further delay would have led to “the curtailment of the next visit on the itinerary”.

Mr Fletcher said: “We came back and we couldn’t see the coach, so we started to panic. It was very frightening and I was on the verge of collapsing. I thought; ‘I’ve had three heart attacks, I don’t want a fourth.’

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“It’s a shame because our first visit to Italy will always be remembered as an absolute nightmare.”

Mr and Mrs Fletcher, from Soham, who paid more than �1,500 for the nine-day holiday package, were eventually saved by a nearby shop assistant who called a taxi.

“It ruined the holiday,” said Mr Fletcher, a retired funeral director.

“We have travelled with Fenn Holidays in the past and they have never been any trouble - in fact they’ve been brilliant - but this came as a real shock. We will never go back there now.”

The holiday firm spokesman added: “The client later apologised to both driver and tour escort. He said that he had seen the driver looking for them whilst they were sitting in a restaurant but that he was embarrassed as he had got the time wrong.”

The spokesman said all clients had a travel pack with emergency phone numbers but the missing pair had not been in contact.