NEWLYWEDS have told of their honeymoon ordeal in the middle of Hurricane Emily in Mexico.
Keith James and wife Joy were married last month at the Chester Grosvenor hotel and flew to the Riviera Maya in Mexico for a luxury honeymoon.
'We had a great wedding,' said Keith, who works at the Stanlow refinery and is a warrant officer in the TA. 'We had all the ceremonial guard of honour and it was all going well.
'The weather had been really calm. Nothing stirred until we heard the storm had hit an area 20 miles south of us and devastated the area.
'They took us 50 miles north to a conference centre that was built to be earthquake-proof. Presumably they assumed if it could survive an earthquake it could survive a hurricane.'
Mexican authorities put 2,000 people in the conference centre but Keith, who was awarded an MBE 12 months ago for his military service, noticed something was not right.
He said: 'When I checked the fire exits they were all padlocked and welded shut.'
Keith carried on investigating and found an alternative exit to the front door to put his mind at ease.
'The storm was a big one,' said Keith. 'We were 50 miles away from the centre of it but it still hit us with 180mph winds - hard enough to put all the windows in.
'But me and Joy tried to keep it together and keep our sense of humour because what else can you do?' After 24 hours they were taken back to the resort.
'It was just total devastation,' said Keith. 'The windows were gone, people who didn't take their belongings had lost a lot, the beach was in the pool.'
Keith and Joy, who live in Hawarden, flew back to Manchester Airport to a media scrum.
'It was strange because we were the first flight back since the storm,' said Keith. 'For us it was a little of the unexpected at the end of a great honeymoon.'