Coronavirus: MP rescues stranded Pagham couple from Spain - 'We are eternally grateful'

A Pagham couple said they will be ‘eternally grateful’ after MP Nick Gibb helped them return home safely from their holiday.

Lake View resident Steve Soames, 70, and his wife Val, 71, were enjoying a long stay with friends in Mojacar in Spain when they realised they had to get home sooner than planned because of flight cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Steve and Val Soames are home safe after their trip to Spain, thanks to Bognor and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb

Steve and Val Soames are home safe after their trip to Spain, thanks to Bognor and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb

After finding out, ‘by chance’, of rescue flights taking them home from Murcia airport, the couple said they were unable to book their seats on the website, repeatedly seeing an error message.

With attempts to contact the airline falling short, the couple were running out of options, so they sent an email to Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton.

Val said: “This was on the Wednesday [March 18] and on the Thursday morning my mobile phone rang. It was someone in his office. Next morning, easyJet phoned up and told us there was a flight on the 20th. It was a relief.

“We are eternally grateful to Nick Gibb and his office for doing what they did. They really were just amazing and for it to happen so quickly. Some people out there were in touch with their MPs and didn’t hear from them.”

Steve said the holiday destination ‘wasn’t the worst place to be stuck in’ but they were concerned about the travel insurance as they had been in the country since early January.

“Some people get stuck in places like Cambodia without money,” he said. “We didn’t have those sorts of problems [but] it’s the uncertainty that gets to you.”

Mr Gibb said he ‘could not have more pleased’ when Steve and Val were able to get a flight back home.

He said: “My office contacted Mark Ramsden, head of UK Corporate Affairs at easyJet, who escalated the matter to their executive support team. The executive support team contacted Mr and Mrs Soames directly and arranged for an alternate flight.

"It’s always a delight when action that we take has the effect of solving someone’s problem.

“I should also like to thank easyJet for their swift response to our requests.”

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