Mum’s fury as son misses trip

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A STRUGGLING single parent has slammed East Dunbartonshire Council for making her wait for a refund for a cancelled school trip.

Pupils at Douglas Academy in Milngavie had been due to travel to France and Belgium at the beginning of December - at a cost of £280 per child.

A total of 41 children were booked on the trip to Lille and Bruges and had paid the full amount of £280 each - totalling £11,480. However, it was cancelled due to the heavy snow and another pre-Christmas attempt to stage it had to be called off because of dangerous travelling conditions.

Months later, Audrey Pirie (43), of Hilton Road, Milngavie, is one of the parents who hasn’t been refunded as East Dunbartonshire is waiting for a full settlement from its insurer.

Mrs Pirie would have liked her 13-year-old son to go on the more recent trip to Paris, however she couldn’t afford to pay for it as she hadn’t received her money back for the Lille trip.

She only works part-time as her 20-year-old daughter and her six-year-old grandson also live with her and she has to juggle childcare and work.

She said: “I’m absolutely furious about this. I didn’t know how to break the news to my son that he couldn’t go on the trip to Paris so I asked the school to tell him. He was devastated.

“I saved up for a long time to be able to pay for him to go to Lille, we should have got our money back sooner.

“I have now been told by the school that we are going to have to wait another three months to get a refund.

“This is totally ridiculous and unfair - the council should have given us our money back even though their insurer hasn’t paid up yet.”

Gerry Allen, the council’s audit and risk manager, said: “Negotiations are still on-going and the council’s legal and finance teams are progressing matters.

“We understand parents’ frustration and would like to reassure them that we also want to see an early and full settlement of the claim, and are working on their behalf.”