A PARENT of a New Milton pupil said what was once a “trip of a lifetime” has now turned into an “ordeal”, and has criticised the company behind the trip.

Camps International, a Ringwood based company, are set to take pupils from Ballard School to Kenya in June, however parents have claimed they have received little communication throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and fear they won’t be able to get their money back if their child can’t go.

Elaine Daniels, who has a 15-year-old daughter at Ballard School, said: “We booked the trip back in 2019, nobody knew what was round the corner.

“My daughter said she would really like to go, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, it can count towards UCAS points, gold Duke of Edinburgh award, a really good thing for the future.

“We signed up for the expedition and made the first payment of £860.”

Ms Daniels said she received no communication throughout the first lockdown until August when she was asked to pay another £860.

She said she got assurance she could defer the trip for a year, but by that point her daughter would not be at the school.

Ms Daniels paid the third sum of £860 after being told if she didn’t she’d risk losing the money already paid because the insurance wouldn’t be activated.

“Come January when we went into a third lockdown they booked flights to Kenya, I became really alarmed,” she continued.

“Things over there were dreadful, I got in touch with Camps International and said ‘is someone going to do something’.”

Ms Daniels then said the lead teacher from Ballard withdrew from the trip and Camps International said they’d assign a leader, however parents had not met this person.

“I even looked into the flights,” she added.

“I found the flights they were quoting didn’t exits. The connected flight from United Arab Emirates to Kenya didn’t exist.

“I started to get really worried thinking this was a big scam.”

Ms Daniels told the Daily Echo the company had not including anything about Covid in their risk assessment and her daughter would spend her 16th birthday in a hotel due to the coronavirus regulations.

She said Camps Interational had not been in touch about vaccinations and added: “It is not a trip of a lifetime, it would be an ordeal.”

Camps International were approached for a comment.