A big-hearted Glasgow mum gave away her Disneyland Paris holiday to strangers in need after her lost passport replacement didn’t turn up on time due to huge demand.
Marie-Clare Kelly, of Baillieston, desperately tried to get her passport application sped up after applying for it five weeks before the trip with her eight-year-old son.
They were due to leave last week but couldn’t get the dates changed – so she found another deserving lone parent to go for free instead.
Single mum Marie-Clare, 37, said: “I couldn’t bear to think about the empty Disney places and an empty hotel room going to waste. The holiday cost me £800. It may not seem much to some people but it is a lot for us.”
Marie-Clare took to social media to search for a family who could do with time away and found another mother and her three-year-old to take the Monday to Thursday holiday.
The e-learning manager said: “I wanted to give the holiday to a person who couldn’t afford it and needed a break. I found a mum, transferred it over and she was off to Disney.
“It was quite nice to make a positive thing happen out of a bad situation. I am a believer in what goes around comes around.”
The coach company Caledonian Travel said they were unable to change the dates but gave Marie-Clare a £100 voucher.
The passport office has said passengers should allow 10 weeks before their date of travel to ensure a passport arrives before departure as it is facing “record demand.”
Dreading losing out on the trip, Marie-Clare went to the passport office in Glasgow and was constantly on the phone trying to get the passport sorted.
Attempts to get the process expedited failed when she discovered applications had to be active for six weeks before it could be fast tracked.
And she still hasn’t received her passport after applying in May.
She said: “We were devastated but tried to make the best of it.”
Former brownie leader Marie-Clare hadn’t told son Chael they were destined for Disney – keeping it as a surprise – so he has been slightly shielded from the bulk of disappointment.
Meanwhile members of the Baillieston community have been rallying around with Mediterranean restaurant Kastriot raising money to try and send the duo away again.
Baillieston Labour Councillor Kevin Lalley said:“Marie-Clare is a hard working person who found herself with an issue and gave the holiday away to a deserving family. It is a feel-good factor for the Baillieston ward. We want a sense of community back after two years of the pandemic.”
A HM Passport Office spokesperson said: “Staff are processing approximately 250,000 passport applications each week and between March and May 98.5% of applications were completed within 10 weeks. But we cannot compromise security checks and people should apply with plenty of time prior to travelling.
“Since April 2021, we’ve clearly stated that people should allow up to 10 weeks when applying for their passport to factor in the increased demand, which has seen five million people delay their passport application due to the pandemic. Face-to-face passport services are only available by appointment.”