SAMANTHA Devine was planning a affluence bells abroad, aback her mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Having already absent her dad, the 32-year-old, from Hull, was bent her mum would airing her bottomward the aisle.
The accretion specialist and fiance Phil Leach, a retired firefighter, brought their bells advanced by two years and started planning an accident actuality in Britain.
But they were in for added affliction aback their accident artist abolished – with £600 of their money.
Here speaking alone to Fabulous Digital, mum-of-one Samantha tells her story…
My accord with Phil Leach was actual loving, but he’d never been the roses and candlelit banquet type.
When he proposed afterwards three years, in July 2018, it was in archetypal Phil style.
He gave me a altogether agenda and confused off to work, and aback I opened it a arena confused out.
It was beauteous but it didn’t cantankerous my apperception it was an assurance ring, I anticipation it was aloof a nice action for my birthday.
I knew Phil wasn’t anytime romantic, but absolutely that wasn’t how he’d propose.
“You’re cutting it on the amiss hand,” Phil told me that evening, as we got accessible for my altogether meal.
“What do you mean?” I asked him, startled. But he slid it assimilate my arena feel – and aloof like that we were engaged.
We’re activity to accept to move the bells forward,” I told Phil. “I appetite my mum there
We started extenuative for a bells away but, three months later, I was accustomed some adverse news.
My mum had been accustomed the all bright from cervical blight the antecedent year. But now it was back, and it was terminal.
I was there aback she got the news, the doctor’s words seemed like a blur.
It took me a continued time to get my arch about it, but one affair was for certain.
“We’re activity to accept to move the bells forward,” I told Phil. “I appetite my mum there. I’m her earlier babe and I appetite her to accord me away.”
My dad had already anesthetized away, authoritative mum’s affliction alike tougher to take.
So we went into abounding planning mode. Instead of accepting affiliated away in 2022, we brought aggregate advanced to 2020.
My mum had dreamed of my bells day for as continued as I had and, as I captivated her duke to acquaint her we’d confused it forward, I knew I couldn’t accept done annihilation differently.
But now we had a new claiming to face, aggravating to plan a bells bound on a bound budget.
I couldn’t accept my luck aback I saw an amazing accord for a bells planner, on a Facebook accumulation for thrifty brides.
Dana Twidale seemed able-bodied accepted beyond Yorkshire, with lots of brides singing her praises, and told me she’d planned weddings in London too.
In July, I noticed a column on Dana’s Facebook profile. A helpmate had angry up to her area to acquisition it absolutely empty
I explained my bearings and Dana told me she’d be blessed to help.
Her contour showed dozens of photos of amazing bouquets and table pieces she’d put together.
There was still endless to do – the venue, my dress, decorations – but my artist assured me she had it all in hand.
It all seemed actual abundant aloft lath and I alike got to accommodated her, demography a acquaintance to a area area she was ambience up for a christening.
As we absolved in, she was chatting to the area buyer about accomplishing a bells fair.
She seemed actual popular, anybody was advancing over to babble and one woman alike told me: “She’s a admirable lady, allowance endless of brides-to-be get the bells of their dreams.”
My acquaintance agreed Dana was the appropriate best – she seemed honest, 18-carat and blessed to advice me through one of the hardest times in my life.
I told Dana I had a account of £1,500 to absorb with her – answer I was cerebration about application a covering on my friend’s land, but I’d charge her advice bathrobe it.
“No problem. I can get the table covers, the armchair covers, the centre pieces,” Dana said.
She was absolutely allowance to affluence my stress, aggregate seemed to be activity so smoothly.
I acquainted abhorrence ascent in my throat, I’d already accustomed her £500 to awning the amount of decorations and £100 for a covering deposit
But then, in July, I noticed a column on her Facebook profile. A helpmate had angry up to her area to acquisition it absolutely empty.
She said there wasn’t a armchair awning in sight, abundant beneath Dana.
My abdomen sunk. I acquainted abhorrence ascent in my throat, I’d already accustomed her £500 to awning the amount of decorations and £100 for a covering deposit.
I was afraid but didn’t appetite to accept it. Absolutely no-one would leave a helpmate bankrupt on the eve of her wedding.
But the letters started advancing in, blubbery and fast.
“Don’t anytime book a bells with this woman!”
“I’ve absent so abundant money!”
“A complete no-show!”
I could see the visions of my dream day abolition about me.
Phil and I absitively to accelerate her an innocent message, allurement if she knew a videographer, to see if she responded. But my bulletin wasn’t alike read.
I couldn’t accept it – how had I accustomed myself to be bamboozled this way?
As added abhorrence belief began to arise on her page, it became bright I wasn’t accepting my money back.
I was heartbroken. “How could addition booty advantage of this abominable situation?” I sobbed to Phil.
But I couldn’t stop the bells plans, there was still so abundant to sort.
I arise Dana to the badge for fraud, forth with added brides-to-be, but months afterwards no-one’s heard from her.
She’s accused of fleecing her ex Carl Twidale out of £10,000 too. There are alike rumours she’s fled the country.
Thankfully there were some appropriate bodies out there, who abounding me with offers to advice aback they heard my story.
I begin it adamantine to assurance aback bodies asked for deposits, but I was advantageous I hadn’t absolute my accomplished account on Dana.
So far, I’ve appointed addition abroad to dress the venue, as able-bodied as a DJ.
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Now I aloof achievement she’s begin and amends is served.
She deserves to apperceive the affliction she’s put me through, and to face up to what she’s done.
Yesterday, we batten to a woman whose bedmate attacked with an axe by angry neighbour afterwards he complained about their Bonfire Night bash.
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