A dedicated school worker teamed up with her MP to ensure two children didn’t miss the boat in joining their classmates on a dream holiday to France, after a last-minute passport mix-up.
When Year 6 Mere Green Primary pupils Taiya-Lea Brown and Daniel Wharrad faced missing the June school trip due to not having their passports back, school office manager, Caroline Dempsey made it her mission to help the children.
She enlisted the help of Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell to secure both passports in the nick of time. This included an 11th hour dash on a Sunday – just one day before the holiday – to the Liverpool passport office, which opened especially, following a heartfelt plea from Caroline and Mr Mitchell.
Caroline, who has worked at Mere Green Primary School, part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), for four months, said: “Our children have been looking forward to this holiday, especially after the last couple of years. When we realised (insert the two children’s names) wouldn’t have their passports back in time, I wanted to do all I could to help.
“I contacted Andrew Mitchell, who immediately responded and volunteered to help. We managed to get one passport delivered on the Friday, but the other was not dispatched as promised. We then tried to arrange delivery on the Saturday, with no joy. Daniel was devastated, but we did not give up hope. Andrew worked tirelessly to arrange for the Liverpool Passport Office, which is normally closed on a Sunday, to open and the family drove up to collect the passport.
“As a result, both children made the trip and had an amazing time alongside their classmates! Enormous thanks to Andrew and Liverpool Passport Office for saving the day. It’s been my pleasure to do this and seeing the children and their classmates return from their holiday with smiles on their faces, is the most rewarding part of it all.”
Mr Mitchell said: “I’m delighted that Daniel and Taiya-Lea could join the other children, and that they’ve had a wonderful adventure. When Caroline contacted me, it was clear just how much this holiday meant to all the children, and I was only too happy to help.
“Caroline selflessly devoted hours of her own time, including across the weekend, to help these families. Her tenacity and dedication to the children is commendable – she went beyond the call of duty, and that level of care is reflected across our schools in the town.
“Caroline selflessly devoted hours of her own time, including across the weekend, to help these families,”
– andrew mitchell mp
“We were very fortunate to secure this support and result, but I understand that this is not the case for everybody. I want to thank all those involved, especially Liverpool Passport Office, who pulled out all the stops to ensure two children did not miss out. What a wonderful end to term and what stories they will have to tell!”
The Mere Green pupils returned from their holiday to Paris on Monday. Headteacher Kristal Brookes said they had an “amazing time” and praised Caroline’s “hard work and determination.”
Speaking about their holiday, Taiya-Lea Brown said: “Having the support given to me by Andrew Mitchell made me feel exceptional. I am grateful that he was contacted because I thankfully got my passport and went to France.
“In France, I enjoyed seeing all the monuments and learning things that I didn’t know before. Going on this trip was a memory that I could never forget.”