MP ensures passport arrives in nick of time

Shaun Woodward, 15, from Kettering, received his passport just two hours before he jetted off on holiday to Turkey
Shaun Woodward, 15, from Kettering, received his passport just two hours before he jetted off on holiday to Turkey
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A Kettering mum has thanked the town’s MP for stepping in to help ensure her son’s passport arrived hours before he jetted off for a week’s holiday.

Sarah Woodward’s son Shaun, 15, flew to Turkey last Friday – but he had been just a couple of hours away from missing out on the trip altogether.

EU Referendum :Wellingborough: Conservatives launch North Northamptonshire EU Referendum Ballot �' Have Your Say! 'l-r Tom Pursglove (Conservative parliamentary candidate for Corby and East Northants), Peter Bone MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, Philip Hollobone MP for Kettering, 'Friday 23rd May 2014 NNL-140523-184917009

EU Referendum :Wellingborough: Conservatives launch North Northamptonshire EU Referendum Ballot �' Have Your Say! 'l-r Tom Pursglove (Conservative parliamentary candidate for Corby and East Northants), Peter Bone MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, Philip Hollobone MP for Kettering, 'Friday 23rd May 2014 NNL-140523-184917009

A well-publicised backlog in dealing with applications for new passports has affected hundreds of thousands of people across the country in recent weeks.

Sarah had been chasing up Shaun’s new passport for a while, but when it still had not arrived a few days before he was due to leave, she got in touch with Kettering MP Philip Hollobone out of “sheer desperation”.

She said: “It got to four days before he was going and we heard about the problems with passports and we panicked.

“I’d been on the phone to them, on one occasion we were on hold for four hours. It was awful. It was going to be devastating for Shaun. I hadn’t slept for days panicking.

“Within two hours of sending the MP an email he replied and said he was in contact with the Passport Office. He made three or four phone calls to them. He was straight on it, which was really good of him. Without him we wouldn’t have got the passport.”

Mr Hollobone said: “I was really pleased that Shaun eventually received his passport and has been able to go on holiday.”

And Sarah said his involvement had kicked the process into action.

Eventually she received a call saying the document could be brought to their home by special delivery last Friday morning.

It arrived at 7.15am and Shaun left for the airport at about 9.30am.

Sarah added: “Shaun was so excited. If he hadn’t got his passport he would have been absolutely devastated and I would have lost a lot of money.

“Shaun’s had a tough year and this was something nice for him to look forward to.”

Nationwide, there has been a backlog of up to half a million passport applications.

Corby and East Northants MP Andy Sawford said he had been contacted by eight people frustrated by delays, though none had missed trips.

He said: “I’ve had people waiting up to 10 weeks.

“One lady said that Passport Office staff were clearly overworked and under intense pressure. The Home Secretary was warned about this months ago. It’s caused a lot of worry to people in my constituency.”

Peter Bone, Wellingborough and Rushden MP, said he had heard from one or two people waiting but their problems had since been resolved.