Thetford school goes extra mile for Jaynie

Jaynie Heyward-Lee with her mum Theresa Lee, sister Remmie Lee and brother Scott Heyward-Lee and Stephen Lord Thetford Academy history teacher who reorganised a trip so Jaynie was able to travel
Jaynie Heyward-Lee with her mum Theresa Lee, sister Remmie Lee and brother Scott Heyward-Lee and Stephen Lord Thetford Academy history teacher who reorganised a trip so Jaynie was able to travel
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A school that rearranged an educational trip after Eurostar refused to allow a disabled pupil on board has received praise from the girl’s mother.

Theresa Lee insisted her daughter’s wheelchair went with her on a three-day history trip to Belgium and France, but, when high-speed rail service Eurostar refused to take it, staff at Thetford Academy changed plans so everyone could go by ferry instead.

Jaynie Heyward-Lee, 13, has congenital heart disease and has undergone three heart bypass surgeries.

Her condition means she ‘gets extremely tired and breathless’ and sometimes needs a wheelchair.

Due to a busy trip itinerary, arrangements had been made to cater for Jaynie’s wheelchair and her sister, Remmie, 16, as her carer.

It was not until they were preparing to leave at 3.30am on October 9 that they discovered the lengths staff had gone to to ensure Jaynie could go.

Theresa, a mother-of four from Thetford, said: “When I got there the teacher (Stephen Lord) told me they had to rearrange the whole trip because Eurostar wouldn’t accept Jaynie’s wheelchair. He and tour guide (Anglia Tours) spent 24 hours trying to rearrange everything. He said to me ‘there was no way I was having that’. I think for them to completely change everything, just so she could go, was amazing.”

Mr Lord said: “My biggest concern was that Jaynie was still able to go on the trip. There was no way I was going to let her down.”

“They had an absolutely fantastic time,” said Theresa.

A spokeswoman for Eurostar said that only two of their trains’ carriages were modified to accommodate wheelchairs and once those were booked they were unable to accept more.