Newark pensioner loses holiday in covid pass confusion
A Newark pensioner has been left distraught after cofusions over a NHS covid pass forced her to miss her holiday.
Maureen Summerill, of Lime Grove, had booked a coach holiday to Cork, Ireland, as a treat before her 80th birthday at the end of October.
Almost two weeks after booking her trip, Maureen was surprised to receive a letter on September 29 from the provider, Just Go Holidays, stating that she would need to provide a NHS covid pass and passenger locator form to board the bus.
Maureen, who lives alone, had reportedly not been told about this requirement when the trip was booked, leaving her with just three days to sort the necessary documents before the coach departed on October 3.
Fran Paterson had booked the holiday for Maureen. She said: “She does not have a computer, and has never used one in her life. She would not know where to begin.
“She does have an email address from which I send and receive emails to/from her son in Australia, but the email could go weeks or months without being checked as it is so seldom used.
“She struggles to even use a basic mobile phone. I was going away for a few days myself but managed to ring 119 to request a paper covid pass. They took the details and said it would take up to five working days but was unlikely to arrive in time.”
Fran also tried to order Maureen an online covid pass, but she had problems trying to match Maureen’s details with those from her doctor’s surgery.
Unsure where to go from there, Maureen rang Just Go Holidays to explain her situation.
“They told her that it was her responsibility to find out if she needed anything,” Fran said.
“She asked if she could cancel and have a refund or transfer to another holiday and they said no to both. They said they would give her until 5pm on October 1 and if she hadn’t sorted anything out, they would advise the coach driver not to come to Newark to pick her up.”
Maureen, who is double-jabbed, had saved up for several years to afford the trip and is now left empty-pocketed and confused.
“I’m really down at the moment because I was looking forward to it so much,” said Maureen.
“I didn’t realise it was so complicated. I’m not computer savvy and I couldn’t get it done in time.
“I’ve been saving up for years and was looking forward to it. It would have been the first time I’d been able to get back to Ireland.”
She now wants to warn other elderly people like herself of may be needed when you book a holiday abroad.
Fran said: “Maureen is now extremely confused herself in what is happening and what the problem is.
“Her mental health is clearly suffering and she didn’t make much sense in anything I asked her. She is so upset that she has lost her savings and wouldn’t want this to happen to any other elderly pensioners.
“If she had known this at the beginning, she might not have booked it or would have had time to sort out a paper covid pass.
“She had actually packed her suitcase the weekend before she was due to go so obviously had every intention of going on holiday.”
A spokesman for Just Go Holidays said: “We are very sorry to hear that Mrs Summerill was unhappy with the advice she was given when booking her trip with us.
“We have a system in place whereby our reservation team must make a record that they have advised customers at the time of booking to check the relevant government websites for the most up to date information on travel requirements for their trip.
“We fully understand travelling is a little more complex at the moment and as a gesture of goodwill we have offered Mrs Summerill a voucher which can be put towards a future holiday.”