Ryanair rule cost us £4,000, says charity

CHARITY workers in Gomersal say an airline has saddled them with a £4,000 debt after a children’s educational visit.

John and Christine Dewhirst, of Latham Lane, were left out of pocket by Ryanair in a row about boarding passes in Poland.

They arranged for 12 youngsters and six teachers to come to the UK from Belarus for a week in July last year.

The couple have been involved with the Friends of Belarus charity since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Most of the nuclear fallout hit neighbouring Belarus, leaving a legacy of birth defects and cancers.

The Friends of Belarus help a school and an orphanage in Ivanova in the Brest region.

John and Christine planned a trip for some of those they have helped, many of whom had never been abroad before.

Christine and a friend got the party to Warsaw on an overnight train for a connecting flight to Manchester.

But a Ryanair official refused to let them travel, as boarding passes for non-EU citizens had not been stamped at an earlier airport gate.

Not only did they lose the seats, they had to pay £4,000 for 20 new tickets on a flight leaving the next day.

The group endured a miserable time waiting overnight at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport.

Christine said: “We spent the night at the airport and there were tears. Some of them wanted to go back home.”

They eventually arrived in the UK and had a good time visiting places like York, Haworth, Liverpool and Blackpool.

John and Christine have tried for a year to get Ryanair to reimburse the charity but to no avail.

They gave up after accepting the boarding pass rule is in Ryanair’s small-print terms and conditions.

Christine added: “The trip was bitter-sweet and it still sticks in the throat that they left a charity out of pocket.

“Instead of doing things for the children we’ve got to raise money to pay off a credit card debt.”

Fundraising events are in the pipeline, and donations can also be made to: Friends of Belarus, c/o Yorkshire Bank, 12 Bradford Road, Cleckheaton, BD19 4RJ.

Share this post