Telford youngster can’t wait to see his friends after travel drama

An 11-year-old schoolboy is looking forward to seeing his classmates after finally reaching home after a coronavirus travel testing wrangle costing hundreds of pounds.

Schoolboy Dean Lemire is back at home in Telford with his mother Clair Chetwood after being stranded in France
Schoolboy Dean Lemire is back at home in Telford with his mother Clair Chetwood after being stranded in France

Dean Lemire left his Telford home to spend the Christmas holidays with his father Eric, in France.

However, the UK went into lockdown on January 4 before Dean was able to return and it was decided that he should stay for a longer time.

The father and son were forced to return to Arras and repeat the process and to travel again on Sunday morning.

Happily they were allowed to board the Euro Tunnel vehicle carrier to Folkstone after repeating the three-day negative Covid-19 testing procedures and buying a home test kit for Mr Lemire, 36.

However, his kit costing £210 will go to waste as he immediately returned across the Channel after handing Dean to a relative at the Kent border and did not travel inland to use it.

His mother Clair Chetwood, 36, of Oakengates, said: “When they got to Calais, Eric showed them all the documents and the border security staff remembered who they were from the last time and waved them through the gate to the Shuttle.

“It’s been great to have Dean back home. he’s got a great personality and he’s matured so much in the past two-and-a- half months.

“His teacher got in touch to say she heard about him getting stuck in France and we think his classmates heard about it too as we’ve been getting messages and having people stopping when we’ve popped out to the shops.

“A lot of people were rooting for them to be able to cross the border on Sunday which they did, thank God.

“Dean’s taken it all in his stride.

Circles

“He’s been telling his friends that he’s famous and has been in the newspaper.

“It’s cost our families about £900 where as in normal times it cost £160 for return Shuttle fares and that’s it. If we had some advance warning we would have slowly saved up the cost of the quarantine tests, but it was just dropped on us a the last minute.

“I felt like I was just going round in circles trying to sort everything out. I was phoning the Border Agency number and not getting anywhere. I felt like I was stuck in a world of automated systems and not getting anyone to explain our particular situation which didn’t fit the categories listed.

“Eric’s home test kit has arrived and I’ll be sending it back to quarantine travel company CTM.

“If you follow the money trail, these test fees seem to be going to private businesses and not to the Government. I thought Covid travel testing was supposed to be about making the world safe and not about making money in a pandemic.”

Dean is now looking forward to returning to lessons at Wombridge Primary School next week when after completing his quarantine period.

The Home Office stated: “If an individual feels they are facing a set of circumstances which is not covered by our published guidance, they can get in touch with the customer feedback team who will aim to offer further clarity on their situation.”

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