Yorkshire family stranded with dangerous storm approaching after holiday park turfed them out

They were hundreds of miles from home in Sheffield – and a dangerous storm was approaching.

But Gleadless dad George Featherstone, his wife and their four children were told to leave their hired flat in a Devon holiday park and left to fend for themselves with nowhere to go and no trains to get them home.

The family, who travelled by rail, were enjoying their stay at Parkdean Torquay Holiday Park, when they received a message while walking along Torquay pier on Thursday February 17.

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It said there was a red storm warning with high winds approaching – so all visitors must leave the holiday park by 8pm. It was already 4pm. On public transport, it was 6.20pm when they returned to the camp.

George Featherstone, right, and his familyGeorge Featherstone, right, and his family
George Featherstone, right, and his family

His concerns grew when he found no staff available to help. On top of this, he said his money was running out.

Trains were cancelled because of the incoming storm. Most hotels were full.

He said: “Reception was closed. I think people had complained, and there was what I’d describe as a bouncer turning people away.

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“There was a storm coming. But we were staying in an apartment, made of concrete, not a tent. It was as strong as a house. I feel that to allow us to leave the holiday camp with no way of getting home, they were putting me and my family in danger.

George Featherstone at the zoo before they were told to leave their accommodationGeorge Featherstone at the zoo before they were told to leave their accommodation
George Featherstone at the zoo before they were told to leave their accommodation

"I have felt very hurt and very let down. We’ve been there before on holidays, and found in the past they couldn’t have been more helpful.

"The first few days of the holiday were great. But on the Thursday, no one asked if we were going to be alright.”

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They eventually managed to locate a hotel room in Torquay to spend the night. Hungry, they had to eat in the hotel, pushing their spending up.

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The next day, they managed to get a train to Exeter – but trains to Sheffield and London were still cancelled.

With nowhere to go, money running out and his family stranded at the station, George put out an appeal to loved ones.

"I was starting to have a meltdown,” he said. Luckily, his brother saw his appeal, and booked him into an upmarket hotel near Exeter airport.

Returning to the station on Saturday, there were still no direct trains to Sheffield – but there were trains to London. However, his ticket was not valid for that route.

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When he told the station manager, he intervened – allowing the family onto the very busy train, finally returning home on Saturday night.

"It was awful,” said George. “I was trying to explain what was happening to my autistic five-year-old, and I couldn’t do anything about it,”

Parkdean initially offered George only a refund on the days he had lost, later agreeing to refund the cost of the whole holiday.

After The Star raised his concerns with the company, it agreed to pay his hotel and restaurant bills, and offered him vouchers for a future break.

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A spokesperson for Torquay Holiday Park said: “We’re pleased to have resolved this issue and are sorry for the way this was handled. We know Mr Featherstone and his family are regular visitors to our parks and we look forward to welcoming them again.”

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