Swine flu wrecks couple's wedding plans

A COUPLE from Essex have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel their dream wedding in Mexico as the swine flu epidemic escalates.

Elliot Furniss

A COUPLE from Essex have made the heartbreaking decision to cancel their dream wedding in Mexico as the swine flu epidemic escalates.

Tara Gray and Israel Pons, who live in Witham, had been left in an agonising state of limbo since the disease first appeared last week.

They had been waiting to decide whether they and 35 friends and family would be able to jet off to the Central American country for the May 15 date.

Ms Gray, 37, whose father Chris is the former chief executive of Felixstowe Port Authority, said she had been trying to ignore the British media coverage of the crisis as much as possible and was relying on information from Mr Pons's family in Mexico City.

But after the death of a Mexican baby from the disease in the American state of Texas was confirmed yesterday afternoon, Ms Gray said it was simply not worth risking the health of any members of the wedding party.

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She and her partner reluctantly agreed to postpone the event and began the process of reorganising it.

She said: “As minimal as the risk is, we decided it was still enough of a risk. Everyone would be obliged to stay inside for 10 days after their return.

“It's horrible - we had 35 guests going from the UK and quite a few more from Mexico.

“I'm just hoping that all the suppliers are going to be understanding and things can be left as they are and we can all arrange another date.”

The couple have been together for 10 years and have three young children, aged two, three and nine. Mr Pons, 41, has been living in the UK for 20 years and runs a bar in nearby Colchester.

Ms Gray said: “We're getting married in a town about four hours north of Mexico City called San Miguel De Allende. There haven't been any cases there just yet and we had a hacienda booked for a week for everybody.

“I'm not sure where we will go from here. I've spoken to most of them (guests) and we'll get in touch with all of them tonight. There's only a handful who had said 'sorry, we can't take the risk'.

“Israel is gutted, he's very disappointed. And he has the double concern of his family being in the middle of it all in Mexico City.

“At the moment they're all absolutely fine.”

Although there have been five cases of swine flu confirmed in the UK many air operators are still providing flights in and out of Mexico.

The Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential travel to Mexico and for more details visit www.fco.gov.uk/en.