Is this fair..? Norfolk volunteer loses more than £800 on air ticket after trip is cancelled

Becki Coleman, who faces losing the £813 she paid for a flight ticket after her placement was cancel

Becki Coleman, who faces losing the £813 she paid for a flight ticket after her placement was cancelled. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A woman who spends her holidays as a volunteer in Cambodian orphanages will lose £700 of the money she spent on an air ticket after her placement was cancelled.

Becki Coleman, kneeling centre, front, with children at the orphanage in Cambodia she has worked in.

Becki Coleman, kneeling centre, front, with children at the orphanage in Cambodia she has worked in. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Becki Coleman, 20, was due to fly to Pnomh Penh with Singapore Airlines, from where she would have travelled to the New Futures Orphanage, at Takeo in the south-west of the country, on Thursday.

But Miss Coleman from Terrington, near King's Lynn, has been told to cancel the trip because the director of the orphanage has died, leaving the New Futures Organisation charity which runs it facing 'major changes'.

Officials say its volunteering programme has been suspended until next year, when it can re-register with the Cambodian government.

'I'm meant to fly in seven days, I booked back in January,' said Miss Coleman, who saved the money for her flight from her wages at Lynn-based building firm RG Carter, where she works in the accounts department.


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'It's quite upsetting. I try to go every year, I save what I can every month. Once you've gone over there once, you're part of their family.'

Former St Clements High School pupil Miss Coleman, who first worked at the orphanage when she was 17, booked her ticket through the Norwich branch of travel agency Trailfinders. She paid a total of £813 for the flight, including fuel surcharge and taxes. Miss Coleman said she was told she could change the date of her flight, up until January 2, if she pays an additional £320. She said she was told she could not obtain a refund for the ticket, other than £120 which she paid in taxes.

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When the EDP called Trailfinders head office in London, it said the ticket was '100pc unrefundable' and Miss Coleman would have been told this at the time she booked her flight.

A spokeswoman for the company added: 'It is essentially the airline's call in this situation. With these flight-only tickets, there are terms and conditions.'

Singapore Airlines had not responded before publication.

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