Sheffield Army cadet’s nail-biting passport wait

Jaye Griffith, 16,  with stepdad Chris
Jaye Griffith, 16, with stepdad Chris
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A teenage Army cadet chosen to represent her country fears she may miss out on the competition of a lifetime – because her new passport has not arrived.

The family of Jaye Griffiths, aged 16, raised £700 so she could attend the shooting contest in Canada after she was the only competitor from the Yorkshire region selected to take part.

But now they fear the Newfield School pupil may not be able to go, as her travel documents have been caught up in the massive backlog of 480,000 cases nationwide.

Jaye’s worried stepdad Chris Cheetham, of Gleadless, said the application had been submitted almost a month ago so it would be ready for the trip on July 7.

He added: “It is a massive once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her, she will never get to do it again and she has been chosen to represent her country.

“She’ll have to leave the cadets eventually and it would be nice for her to have a lasting memory.

“When I called the passport office they didn’t even know where in the country her passport was.”

The family have now been told they should receive the passport this week – but they are still concerned.

Chris added: “The organisers need her passport details, and if we can’t provide them the place will have to transfer to somebody else.”

South Yorkshire MPs have been beseiged by complaints from constituents about passport problems.

Mum Hannah Burton got a passport for her baby son Maxi only one day before their first family holiday to Kos - after she approached Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith’s office.

Hannah, of Penistone, said: “Me and someone from the MP’s office spent the whole day on the phone until eventually they said we could come to get it.

“We had to pay extra but it wasn’t the money, it was how rude the passport office staff were to me.”

Ms Smith told The Star: “I’m really glad my office was able to help but nothing excuses the incompetence of allowing the passport office to descend into this shambles.”

In Rotherham, Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey has called on Home Secretary Theresa May to ‘clean up the chaos’ after receiving 20 enquiries in a week.

“It is totally unfair hard-working people are panicked and distressed when they have saved hard for a well-earned break,” he said.

A spokesman for HM Passport Office said 480,000 applications are being processed.

“It is not unusual during peak periods to operate with high numbers of applications, with this year seeing the highest levels for 12 years,” she said. “We have introduced measures to help.”