07:00 Tuesday 03 June 2014

Children 'disappointed' after council blunder sees them turned away from Ely funfair

Written byJORDAN DAY

Children with learning disabilities and difficulties were left feeling “disappointed” after a lack of communication meant they were turned away from a funfair.

The annual May Funfair was in Ely from Thursday through to Saturday and on Friday pupils at Ely’s Highfield School, which caters for young people with additional needs, were invited to enjoy the rides for free for a two-hour period.

East Cambridgeshire District Council wrote to the school, who then wrote to parents, inviting them to take their children along between 10am and 12pm.

But the council forgot to notify the fairground people about the free offer - meaning families were turned away.

Karen Faulkner, 46, and her son, Karl, 15, were among those affected.

Karen, who lives with her family in Ely’s Walsingham Way, said: “Karl is in his last year at Highfield and is moving to Impington Village College in September.

“He was really looking forward to the trip to the fair - especially with it being his birthday on June 9.

“When we arrived the fair was closed and the only person on site was the caretaker. He said nobody was aware of the arrangements and as a result we were turned away.

“There were around 15 of us who were turned away, and I think more might have gone along later in the morning.

“The children were really disappointed and many families had travelled quite a distance.

“It’s a nice gesture from the council but just embarrassing for them that a breakdown in communication made it all turn sour.”

Simon Bainbridge, head at Highfield School, said: “What happened is disappointing. I am told the council will be writing us a letter so that we can then send it on to our parents.

“I do feel the council has done all it can to try and rectify the situation.”

Tracey Harding, tourism leader at the council, said: “We are very sorry for the confusion which took place regarding the families from Highfield School.

“Unfortunately due to a breakdown in communication the fair wasn’t staffed at the time when the children turned up.

“The owners did kindly offer to allow the children to ride for free in the early evening but we clearly understand that the families would have been disappointed with what happened and for that we apologise.”

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