A COUPLE’S dream £32,000 Mexican wedding is hanging in the balance as swine flu grips the world.

Accounts assistant Nicola Whelan, 24, is due to marry her childhood sweetheart Antony Stuttard, 24, next month in idyllic surroundings on the beach in Cancun, Mexico.

But as the swine flu epidemic spread further this week, flights to the popular wedding and holiday destination were cancelled until at least after the May day bank holiday.

As a result, the couple, of Westwood Street, Accrington, and 16 family members, were having to face the possibility that the wedding may have to be postponed for a year.

Nicola said: "We are really worried we will have to postpone because we have spent 16 months planning and organising the wedding. The worst part is if we have to postpone we will have to wait until after the hurricane season which Mexico is just about to enter.

"With flights, dresses, accommodation, invitations and the celebration planned at Sparth House when we return we have easily spent more than £32,000 before we even contemplate the cost of postponing.

"Thomas Cook who we are flying with have been great. They have kept us updated and have told us they will make the decision on whether we will be able to fly in two weeks. I think it’s the not knowing that makes it worse but we are staying positive."

The couple and their closest family and friends are due to fly out from Manchester to spend a week in the sun before the happy day.

As a result of the epidemic, the duo have been given the option to move the wedding to Barbados. But the couple have their hearts set on Mexico, as engineer Antony, explain-ed: "We decided on Mexico because we know the resort and the hotel and we know it has a lot to offer."

The couple’s family who are attending the wedding, which includes Nicola arriving in a white horse and carriage, a Mexican band and a large marquee in the hotel grounds, have vowed if they are allowed to fly, they will not wear face masks and make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

Antony’s mum Elaine said: "If we are allowed to fly, will go out and enjoy it. Obviously we will get advice from our doctors but we won’t be wearing face masks on the big day."

Around the world there has been 147 confirmed cases of swine flu, five of those in the UK and another 160 suspected deaths in Mexico.

The 19 Mexican students boarding at Clitheroe’s Stonyhurst College have also been screened and tested negative for the swine flu virus this week.

Hyndburn doctors, paramedics and hospital staff have been primed with information just in case swine flu comes to the area.

GPs throughout the borough have been given advice and guidance from the Department of Health and the Health Protection Agency as a precautionary measure.

Dr Ellis Friedman, the East Lancs PCT’s Public Health Director, will be in charge of handling an outbreak, should it occur locally.

He said: "Over recent years we have been putting in place our contingency plans for a potential flu pandemic coming our way.

"Obviously, we have had several co-ordination meetings over the past week to make sure everything we have put in place is in a state of readiness to act, should that be necessary.

"We recognise that the public will have concerns. All households will soon receive a national leaflet giving advice and guidance. In addition, for those with access to the internet, information is available on the NHS Choice website."


Similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza. They can include:

  • fever
  • lethargy
  • lack of appetite
  • coughing
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea