Selsey’s Bunn Leisure agrees to refund grieving widow

Jean Kinahan with a picture of herself and partner James Burgess. home. PICTURE BY SOUTH WEST NEWS SERVICE
Jean Kinahan with a picture of herself and partner James Burgess. home. PICTURE BY SOUTH WEST NEWS SERVICE
The countryside surrounding Harting Down in the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

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PUBLIC pressure has led a holiday firm to back down after it initially refused to refund a grieving woman’s £424 holiday when her partner died.

A 1,000-strong petition was launched against Bunn Leisure, in Selsey, after it told 77-year-old Jean Kinahan, from Croydon, that death was not included in the £25 cancellation insurance cover it sold her.

Her partner James Burgess, 76, died on July 27 from heart failure.

“It’s unbelievable to me it really is,” said Mrs Kinahan. “It doesn’t seem plausible.”

She continued: “I rang on Tuesday (July 28) to put them in the picture. She said if your partner was sick we could give you a refund but death doesn’t constitute a refund.”

According to Bunn Leisure’s refund policy, the cancellation policy is only valid provided someone is ill, has been made redundant, is needed for jury service or is part of a police investigation.

Later on Friday, Mrs Kinahan was contacted by Bunn Leisure and asked to post a copy of a death certificate.

Such was the outrage after our sister paper the Chichester Observer ran a story on its website last Friday that a petition was started up by South Bersted resident David James.

“I go along the south of England with my work, I’ve got a few customers that go down to Bunn Leisure at Selsey,” said the photographer. “They’re absolutely horrified, I’m getting Facebook messages from them saying this is ridiculous.”

On Tuesday, managing director John Bunn said the company was ‘finalising the formalities’ to settle the matter on ‘compassionate grounds’.

“We have never had this situation arise before, but in light of this case, we are reviewing our terms and conditions and will undoubtedly be including bereavement in the policy terms moving forwards,” he said.

Mr Burgess had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The couple would have celebrated their 20th anniversary today and had recently decided to get married.