Stu­dents turned away at air­port af­ter In­dia flight


SCHOOLCHILDREN vis­it­ing In­dia on a vol­un­tary mis­sion have been left heart­bro­ken af­ter they were turned away by air­port of­fi­cials.

The 16 stu­dents and three staff from Poyn­ton High School had made the long haul from Manch­ester to In­dia – but were re­fused en­try to the coun­try at Chen­nai Air­port.

Of­fi­cials claimed they had the ‘wrong type of visa’ be­cause they were do­ing vol­un­tary work.

It meant the stu­dents had to re­turn to the UK armed with the toys and other items they were plan­ning to take to an or­phan­age where they planned to paint a mu­ral.

Head­teacher David Waugh said the school was ‘shocked and sad­dened’.

The school has been fundrais­ing for the char­ity In­dia Di­rect for the past 12 years and has raised more than £30,000 to help es­tab­lish and run two chil­dren’s homes.

And there has al­ready been three suc­cess­ful trips – in 2009, 2011 and 2014 – to per­form vol­un­tary work.

Mr Waugh said: “The PHS In­dia Project is part of the DNA of our school. The stu­dents and staff have raised thou­sands of pounds to sup­port this trip and to spon­sor the young chil­dren in the homes through ev­ery fundrais­ing means pos­si­ble.

“As you can imag­ine, the staff and stu­dents are in a state of tired shock hav­ing trav­elled for 48 hours as a round trip. A full de­brief of the sit­u­a­tion will take place and we will take this mat­ter up at the high­est level.”

Mac­cles­field MP David Rut­ley has pledged to get an­swers from the For­eign Of­fice and the In­dian High Com­mis­sion.

He said: “This has been a dis­tress­ing and dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ence, and they rightly want an ex­pla­na­tion.

“I am in con­tact with the For­eign Of­fice and to the In­dian High Com­mis­sion, to try help them get an­swers, and will con­tinue to fol­low it up as a pri­or­ity.”

A spokesman for the In­dian High Com­mis­sion said the group ob­tained the ‘wrong cat­e­gory’ of visa.

The Poyn­ton High School stu­dents

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