A FAMILY has received thousands of pounds in compensation from First Choice after falling ill during a holiday from hell.

The Cheek family, of Little Wakering Road, Barling Magna, were among 600 people to receive a share of £1.7million after an outbreak of gastric illnesses at the Holiday Village resort, in Sarigerme, Turkey.

Laura Cheek and her husband Gary, both 42, and daughter Lydia, eight, all had stomach problems during the two-week all-inclusive holiday in 2009, but son Evan, 11, contracted salmonella and cryptosporidium – caused by a parasite found in faeces.

The resort was later featured on BBC’s Watchdog programme after holidaymakers reported finding faeces in the swimming pools, food being served undercooked, dirty crockery and dirty toilets.

Laura said: “He was OK for about a week, but then he started throwing up and getting diarrhoea really badly.

“He was even throwing up as we were getting on the plane home, which was not a nice thing to go through.

“At the resort they kept telling us it was just the heat and we weren’t used to it and, maybe a little naively, I believed them.

“It wasn’t until we got home and my mumsaid ‘Oh my God, you look horrible, you’re supposed to come back from holiday looking better’ that we thought something was wrong. She was shocked at how ill and thin Evan was.”

After Evan was diagnosed by a GP, Rochford District Council contacted Laura and advised she visit the Holiday Travel Watch website, where she found many more had been taken ill at the resort.

Lawyers from Irwin Mitchell then got in touch and negotiated the settlement from First Choice.

Laura and Gary received a payout of £450 each, about £2,000 for Evan, with slightly less for Lydia.

Speaking after the decision at the High Court in London, Suki Chhokar, from Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are delighted for our clients that they have received a fair settlement from the tour operator after enduring such terrible times.”