WGC's young dancer has passport application withdrawn two weeks before trip

Welwyn Garden City’s young dancer has had an ordeal with the passport office.

Welwyn Garden City’s young dancer has had an ordeal with the passport office as her application has been withdrawn two weeks before she was to fly out of the country for a competition. - Credit: Tierney Peacock

A young dancer from Welwyn Garden City suffered an unexpected ordeal with the Passport Office after her application was withdrawn two weeks before she was flying abroad for a major international competition.   

Nine-year-old Layla McGreevy, a member of of Ignite Dance Company, had successfully auditioned out of thousands of dancers to compete in the Dance World Cup in San Sebastian, Spain, later this month.

Young dancer Layla McGreevy (left) and her aunt Tierney Peacock.

Young dancer Layla McGreevy (left) and her aunt Tierney Peacock. - Credit: Tierney Peacock

Layla’s aunt Tierney Peacock explained: “The Dance World Cup is the Olympics of the dance world and it is no easy feat to be selected. Not only has Layla been successful, she is taking four group dances and a duet to perform against countries across the world representing team England. Layla has never been abroad so this was a fantastic opportunity for her.” 

Her family had applied for Layla’s passport on Wednesday, March 2, and at the time, they expected the passport to arrive within 10 weeks.  

They had sent through all the supporting documents required and had received confirmation that it had been signed for the next day.  

Tierney added: "The system didn't update for four weeks when it said the documents were received on April 11. The Passport Office then requested further documents which we sent within 48 hours. They were received and signed for by the Peterborough Passport Office on Tuesday May 17 at 9.37am.  

“On the 18th May I made a phone call to the Passport Office to check the documents had been received. During this phone call I was told the passport was in its last stages and waiting to be printed. I was lied to!” 

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Four weeks prior to her flight to Spain, Tierney had chased up the application and called the Passport Office every single day.  

“Each phone call I was told conflicting information. I was even told on one occasion that it had been printed! Again, I was lied to just to get me off of the phone. I was always promised a call back within 72 hours. 

“Out of the 50-plus phone calls I have made in the last 4 weeks I have only received one call back - in which I was told 'you would just have to wait'. I think 14 weeks is enough waiting,” Tierney added. 

On the morning of Wednesday, June 8, they had received a text message that said the application had been withdrawn, without an explanation as to why. 

“I have called on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week numerous times throughout the day and not one person can advise me on what is happening or what I should do going forward. Each person answering the phone really doesn't seem bothered or wanting to help,” she said. 

The matter was raised with Welwyn Hatfield MP and transport secretary Grant Shapps over the Bank Holiday Weekend, and he wrote to the Home Office on Monday, and chased the case up with them this morning after being informed of the sudden application withdrawal.

Eventually, after Tierney waited seven hours at the Passport Office, she finally walked out with Layla's completed passport, and the two of them will be flying to Spain in a few weeks.