Teenager could miss out on appearing for England at the Dance World Cup because of passport delays

A "desperate" teenager is set to miss out on competing for England at the Dance World Cup - because of passport problems.

Paige Marsh, 13, is supposed to be representing her country in Spain later this month.

But her application to renew her passport is yet to be processed - despite mum Emma Marsh's, 34, best efforts.

Emma says she submitted the application on May 20 and tried to get on the fast track scheme to hurry things along.

But, as yet, the document hasn't come through - and she and Paige are booked to fly out to the competition next Tuesday (21/06).

According to the passport office website, passport applications can take up to 10 weeks to be processed.

Emma, from Middlesbrough, North Yorks., said: "My application has been sat in processing for weeks and there's nothing I can do about it.

"I work two jobs to support my daughter's dancing, and I saved for months to afford these flights.

"I was focussing so hard on earning the money for the trip, I forgot to check all our documents and it turns out her passport has technically expired.

"I applied for fast track renewal but its made no difference at all - there's been zero movement since the day the application was submitted."

"I haven't slept properly for a month - the stress of it has been unbearable for us both."

Frustratingly, Emma claims she has been told by the passport office in Durham that if her application had been sent there, they could action the renewal in minutes.

But, when her application was submitted, it was sent to Newport, South Wales, she says - which is a five-and-a-half-hour drive away.

Emma says she has been trying to contact the Newport passport office every day for weeks to no avail.

And she has even contacted her local MP, who has written to the passport office - but he is yet to receive any kind of response.

Emma says her last hope is to drive to Newport the day before they are supposed to travel on the off-chance they'll be able to speak to a member of staff.

The mum, who works as a gymnastic coach and also does admin for a restaurant, said: "I'm so gutted for my daughter - she's heartbroken.

"She started dancing at eighteen months old and hasn't stopped since. This isn't just a holiday for her - she has worked so hard to get to this point.

"Paige trains seven days a week, getting the train every day after school.

"I drive and pick her up every night which is an hour there and back because I know dancing means everything to her.

"Paige has been chosen to represent her country at the world cup, something she's dreamed about forever - but as it stands she won't be able to get there.

"We are trying everything we can to fix this, and I'll drive 11 hours to Newport and back in a heartbeat if there's even the slightest chance of this being resolved.

"We are desperate!"

A HM Passport Office spokesperson said: “Staff are processing approximately 250,000 passport applications each week and the latest figures show that 98.5% of applications have been completed within 10 weeks.

"But we cannot compromise security checks and people should apply with plenty of time prior to travelling.

“Since April 2021, we’ve clearly stated that people should allow up to ten weeks when applying for their passport to factor in the increased demand, which has seen 5 million people delay their passport application due to the pandemic.

"An expedited service is available to help the small percentage of people whose applications take longer than ten weeks to receive their passports before they travel.”

The Dance World Cup World Finals take place in San Sebastian from June 24 to July 2.

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