Terminally ill woman ‘heartbroken’ after missing out on ‘last holiday’ due to Passport Office mistake
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A terminally ill woman, who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in September 2021, has missed out on what could be her last holiday - because of a passport blunder.
Lisa Cutler, had planned to go to Nessebar in Bulgaria with her best friend to scatter her late mum’s ashes. But when her passport arrived, her surname had been misspelt.
Lisa - who’s last name had been incorrectly spelt Guyler - claims she spent months speaking to the Passport Office but got nowhere. Despite the issue getting resolved, the amended passport arrived too late for her to travel, she claims.
Lisa, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, said: “It’s been absolutely shocking and they just don’t give a toss - it’s unbelievable.
“I’m dying, and they admitted it’s their mistake - but did nothing about it.This was my last chance to feel hot sun on my skin and sand between my toes. And my last chance to scatter mum’s ashes.”
Lisa, 51, has stage four metastatic breast cancer which has spread to other parts of her body including her bones, spine and liver. Along with close friend Mandy Patterson-Davis, 57, she had planned to scatter the ashes of her late mum Brenda Noble, who died aged 69 in 2019, in Nessebar.
Brenda had visited the Bulgarian city every year for three decades until her death. After being too ill to travel last year, Lisa planned to go away on June 6. But before she booked she realised her passport had expired.
She quickly rectified this and ordered a new passport immediately - paying a fee of £109. A few weeks later, she received the new document but was horrified upon seeing the name blunder.
Lisa said: “The girls at the Post Office were amazing. They checked everything four times. I know my surname was correct on the forms.
“I have very clear handwriting and it’s Cutler on my marriage certificate.”
Lisa phoned the passport office and was told to reapply - but she refused to pay again.
After telling them of her diagnosis she was told to send the passport back, which she did on March 23.
Lisa waited three weeks as instructed, then emailed three times, she says. Her husband Jonathan Cutler, 48, also called twice, she says - but no passport came.
Lisa was then told the problem would be sorted in a call on May 19, she claims. But it still hadn’t arrived days later - prompting her husband to call up again.
Lisa’s passport was eventually delivered by courier on June 4 after enquiries by reporters to the Home Office. But Lisa says it was too little, too late - as there was not enough time to get ready for the holiday.
She said: “I’m heartbroken. I’ve been waiting such a long time to do this for my mum. With my condition I can’t get ready to go away in such a short space of time, and we had no idea when or if it was coming.
“This had to be organised around chemo cycles, and the next opportunity would be July 4. So all I can do is pray I’ll be well enough then, and it will cost about £500 more.”
Businessman Jonathan said: “It’s a disgrace - and there’s no accountability at all. They’ve completely ruined this.
“By the time it arrived we didn’t have time to get everything ready to go away. We weren’t prepared for travelling with Lisa’s condition, or even to organise for neighbours to look after our cats.”
The Home Office, which is responsible for the Passport Office, has declined to comment.