Mrs Brown’s Boys star Gary Hollywood has criticised a holiday firm for “lack of empathy” after they refused to rearrange a family break days after his father died.
The Bafta-winning actor had booked and paid more than £500 for a four-day break with his wife Cherylanne and toddler son Ollie at the Blairgowrie Holiday Park, near Perth.
But his father John, 77, suddenly collapsed and died at his home in Glasgow on January 17. The family holiday was due to start the following week.
Hollywood said: “It was sudden and very unexpected. Our whole family have been struggling to come to terms with what happened.
“One minute dad was cracking jokes as usual, and the next he collapsed.
“Despite frantic efforts by my brother and cousin to resuscitate him, by the time paramedics arrived and took over, there was little they could do for dad.
“No matter how hard they tried, they could not bring him back.
“It has been especially hard for my mum Betty who was there when dad collapsed and died. They have been inseparable since they were teenage sweethearts. Mum is inconsolable.”
The actor contacted Blairgowrie Holiday Park to explain that he would have to cancel his short break due to the bereavement.
He said: “We had been due to check-in on January 24, but instead of receiving sympathetic understanding over our predicament, the firm insisted I had to give them four weeks’ notice of a cancellation.
“I mistakenly believed a family-run firm would have more empathy, given my father had died suddenly. Surely it wasn’t unreasonable for them to waive their four-week cancellation notice given such circumstances.
“I asked if we could rebook at a time that was more suitable. There was no way I could waltz off on a holiday and leave my wee mum grieving.”
But the holiday firm, run by Wood Leisure, based in Blairgowrie, said: “As per our terms and conditions, as you are needing to cancel within four weeks of arrival, we do not provide any credit notes. We can cancel your booking and provide a cancellation certificate so you can claim off your travel insurance.”
The company eventually offered a partial credit note, but then insisted Hollywood inform them of his decision within less than 24 hours or they would withdraw their offer.
Hollywood said: “I explained that as we were booking a holiday less than an hour from our home, not the other side of the world, we wouldn’t even have considered taking out insurance.
“I was trying to console my mum over what had happened, including having to wait for a post-mortem because dad’s death was so sudden, as well as trying to organise his funeral, and all the while I felt under pressure from the holiday park.
“I had chosen the place because they state on their website they are a family firm with family values. That’s why I’m astounded by their response and lack of empathy. A sudden death is hardly something that you can plan ahead for, is it?”
Wood Leisure, which runs holiday parks at Loch Lomond, Deeside, Campsie Glen and Callander would only say: “We are sorry, we take the privacy of our customer information seriously and are unable to comment on any booking.”
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