Doting OAP never got to 'say goodbye' to wife of 41 years after contracting deadly legionnaires' disease

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The Chesterfield stepson of an OAP who died from deadly legionnaires' disease after taking a week-long hotel break says the doting husband never got to 'say goodbye' to his wife of 41 years.

Brian Taylor, 75, passed away from the bacterial pneumonia a month after returning from his holiday in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria.

Tragically, his family said the doting husband never got to 'say goodbye' to his wife of 41 years, Nancy Sykes-Taylor, whom he had visited every day in a care home before his death.

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Brian was one of three people who got flu-like symptoms shortly after he returned from his stay at the three-star Hotel Kalofer, located on the Black Sea, in June 2019. A few days later, he was rushed to hospital where he spent 25 days in intensive care battling legionnaires disease before he sadly passed away.

Brian Taylor with wife Nancy Sykes-Taylor.Brian Taylor with wife Nancy Sykes-Taylor.
Brian Taylor with wife Nancy Sykes-Taylor.

His relatives went on to pursue a legal case with the two other claimants, who were also diagnosed with the disease, against their provider, Jet2holidays. And five years on, the travel agent, which denies liability, has agreed undisclosed out-of-court settlements with all parties - which total six figures.

Speaking after the decision, Brian’s stepson, Martin Farrell, 62, from Chesterfield, said nothing would compensate for the loss of the much-loved member of the family.

He said: “Brian was very independent, and very fit and active for his age. He enjoyed holidaying as well as bowling and walking to the local club on a Saturday. He adored my mum and would visit her every day. When I saw him after he returned from Bulgaria, I couldn’t quite believe how poorly he was.

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“Even more than four years on it remains difficult to comprehend how he had gone on holiday and just over a month after returning had died. The hospital did everything they could to help Brian, but he went downhill so quickly. The hardest thing to accept is that he never got to say goodbye to mum.

Brian Taylor.Brian Taylor.
Brian Taylor.

“Nothing can ever make up for what our family have been through, but we just hope that by speaking out others are aware of the signs and symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease and how serious it is.”

Brian, from Huddersfield, West Yorks., took the short trip to the beautiful Black Sea resort in the summer of 2019 after his wife Nancy, 84, had gone into a care home.

And shortly after he returned from the holiday on June 17, 2019, Martin went to stay with his stepdad, as he did each week. But he found that Brian had developed flu-like symptoms and a high temperature - and was shaking as if he was bitterly cold.

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Martin travelled back home the following day but called his stepdad to check in on him later that night, who told him he had been to see his GP.

He then called Brian around tea-time on June 21 to see if he was feeling any better, and also asked his son, who lived locally, to check if he was ok. However, during that time Brian had collapsed and was rushed to a hospital in an ambulance. He spent 25 days in the intensive care unit where he was diagnosed with legionnaires disease, before sadly dying on July 17, 2019.

Following Brian’s passing, his family instructed expert serious injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether his illness was linked to his stay at the hotel

Two other British holidaymakers who received treatment in UK hospitals and were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease also asked Irwin Mitchell to investigate.

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), revealed that the European Legionnaires’ Disease Surveillance Network received four reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease that were potentially associated with the Hotel Kalofer in 2019.

And following legal submissions by Irwin Mitchell, Jet2Holidays agreed on an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with Brian’s family and the other parties.

Sarita Sharma, the specialist international serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Our clients, including Brian’s loved ones, remain angry and upset at what happened and the circumstances surrounding the events that unfolded.

“Through our work we sadly see the devastating consequences of Legionnaires’ disease, and nothing highlights this more than Brian’s death. While nothing can make up for what the families have been through, we’re pleased to have at least secured these settlements which provides them with some closure.

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“Large buildings with more complex water systems – such as hotels, hospitals or spas – are at a greater risk of legionella contamination, the bacteria which causes the infection.

“Following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease it’s vital that the source is identified as soon as possible. If any members of the public start experiencing any of the symptoms it’s crucial that they seek immediate medical advice.”

Jet2holiday and Hotel Kalofer have been asked for comment.