‘Desperate’ teen fears missing dance competition as she waits for her passport

A ‘desperate’ teenager is set to miss out on competing for England at the Dance World Cup – due to passport delays.

Paige Marsh, 13, is due to represent her country in Spain next week. But his passport renewal application has yet to be processed – despite the best efforts of mum Emma Marsh, 34.

Emma even applied for the accelerated program to speed things up – which can take just a week – but couldn’t get an appointment. She and Paige are booked to go to the competition next Tuesday (June 21).

READ MORE : Mum ‘laughed in the face’ by medics after rushing to help in the middle of the night

Emma, ​​from Middlesbrough, North Yorks., said: “My application has been in process for weeks and there is nothing I can do about it. I work two jobs to support my daughter’s dancing and have been saving for years. months to pay for these flights.

“I was focusing so hard on making money for the trip, I forgot to check all our documents and it turns out his passport has technically expired. I applied for an expedited renewal but it didn’t work. made no difference – there has been no movement since the day the application was filed.

“I haven’t slept properly for a month – the stress has been unbearable for both of us.”

Frustrated, Emma said the Durham passport office told her that if her application had been sent there they could process the renewal within minutes. But, when her application was submitted, she was sent to Newport, South Wales, a five and a half hour drive away.

Emma said she had been trying to contact the Newport Passport Office every day for weeks to no avail, and there seemed to be nothing anyone could do to get in touch with them.

She even contacted her local MP, who wrote to the passport office – but has yet to receive a response.

Emma and Paige’s last hope is to get to Newport the day before their trip, in case they can speak to a staff member.

Paige Marsh, 13, is due to represent her country in Spain next week

Emma, ​​who works as a gymnastics coach and also runs a restaurant, said: “I am so disgusted for my daughter – she is heartbroken. She started dancing at 18 months and hasn’t stopped since. It’s not just a vacation for her – she’s worked so hard to make it this far.

“Paige works out seven days a week, taking the train every day after school. I drive and pick her up every night, which is an hour round trip because I know dancing means everything to her.

“Paige has been chosen to represent her country at the World Cup, something she’s always dreamed of – but as things stand, she won’t be able to make it. We’re trying everything we can to resolve this issue. , and I’ll drive 11 hours to Newport and back in a heartbeat if there’s any chance of this being resolved. We’re desperate!”

A spokesperson for the HM Passport Office said: “Staff process around 250,000 passport applications each week and the latest figures show 98.5 per cent of applications were processed within 10 weeks.

“But we can’t compromise security checks and people need to apply well in advance before travelling.

“Since April 2021, we have made it clear that people should allow up to 10 weeks when applying for passports to account for the surge in demand, which has seen five million people delay their passport applications due to of the pandemic.

“An expedited service is available to help the small percentage of people whose applications take longer than 10 weeks to receive their passport before travelling.”

The Dance World Cup World Finals take place in San Sebastián from June 24 to July 2.