Dad missed son’s wedding after ‘life-threatening allergy from being served wrong meal’

A heartbroken dad claims he missed his son’s wedding after he suffered a life-threatening allergic reaction when he was given the “wrong meal”.

Andrew Hunneybel was looking forward to celebrating his eldest son, Alex, tying the knot at Gaynes Park, Essex on August 7.

But during lunch the 51-year-old claims he was served the wrong meal, one containing egg and fish – which he is allergic to.

Andrew said he was left struggling to breathe and had to use his EpiPen before being rushed to hospital in the back of an ambulance.

This meant he missed out on the rest of his son’s special day including the first dance and speeches.

Venue Catering and Events Limited, who catered the event, said a probe had been launched.

Andrew, a building inspector, said: “I’m really upset and even now it’s upsetting to watch the videos of the day because I think ‘I should have been there’ – it’s my son’s wedding.

“Because of their carelessness and negligence, I’ve missed my son’s wedding – I’m just concerned that people think they can get away with these things.”

Andrew, from Brentwood, Essex, claims he told staff on arrival that he suffered from a severe allergy to eggs and fish.

The disappointed dad said he alerted them again to his severe allergy before food was served and checked a final time when the plate was put in front of him.

But it wasn’t until he finished his meal and began to feel unwell that he knew something was wrong.

He began choking and struggling to breathe.

He rushed to the bathroom where his son found him and explained staff were trying to find him after they allegedly gave him the wrong meal.

Andrew was forced to use his EpiPen to try and get his symptoms under control, but had to be take to hospital where he was kept for observation during the day.

As a result, he missed many of the key moments of his son’s big day – including wedding speeches, the first dance and the cake being cut.

“I feel in this day and age they should be more careful with allergies as they went ahead and poisoned me and I missed my son’s wedding,” claimed dad-of-four Andrew.

“My son is upset as it shouldn’t have gone on and taken away from his wedding – the venue needs to step up and realise they can’t make these kinds of mistakes.

“We were told on arrival to let staff know if we had any issues with allergies so I made them aware then that I was allergic to eggs and fish.

“When we sat down, there were staff walking around and again they asked if anyone had any allergies so I made myself known again.

“I’m always very picky about what I eat and when they put it in front of me I asked again, and they said that it was fine. My partner questioned it as well and they were quite abrupt, saying ‘it’s correct’.

“I finished my meal and said to my partner ‘I don’t feel very well’ – I went to the bathroom and while I was in there my other son came and found me

“He told me the staff were looking for me as they had given me the wrong meal.

“He took me to a back room with a member of staff where I administered the EpiPen as I was choking and struggling to breathe.

“As I was being carted off in an ambulance, they bought me a liability report which said they had got the meal wrong and said they would sort out the expenses if I needed a longer hotel stay.

“Once I got home, I called them and had a meeting at the hotel where they told me we would need to discuss the refund with their insurer Allianz.

“The insurance company have said they don’t pay for memories and made me feel like a criminal – they said they would need independent doctors to examine me.

“[The venue] knew they had made a mistake as they were looking for me but they’re not that bothered as since giving it to the insurer they won’t take any phone calls from me.”

A spokesperson for Venue Catering and Events Limited said: “We take food safety and allergens extremely seriously, as such we are fully investigating the claims made by Mr Hunneybel to understand what may have happened on this occasion.

“We have strict protocols in place to record and manage allergen information and request this information as part of the booking process.

“Despite being provided with inaccurate allergy information for Mr Hunneybel in advance, this was picked up as part of our final checks when guests are seated at tables and this information was conveyed to the kitchen team and noted on the table plan.

“This was clearly a distressing incident for Mr Hunneybel and his family, and we are sorry that despite his wish to remain at the wedding, he went to hospital as a precautionary measure and therefore missed the end of the event.

“We offered our support to them, liaised with paramedics when he started to feel unwell, and met him the following morning to discuss the incident.

“We are conducting a full investigation and it would be inappropriate to say anything further as this stage.”

A spokesperson for Allianz said: “We understand this is an upsetting situation for all involved and were very sorry to hear of this incident.

“We cannot go into details regarding individual ongoing claims but can confirm we’re fully investigating the case and working with our customer.

“As this is a new claim it is not yet resolved and we’ll respond fully to Mr Hunneybel, or ideally his solicitor as recommended, as soon as we can in a transparent and timely manner.”