Relief for Darlington couple after passport wrangle resolved

A DARLINGTON couple are free to travel the world after their despair turned to relief when delays issuing one of them a passport were resolved.

The Northern Echo last week reported on the frustration experienced by Cambodian-born Samik Hewison, a naturalised British citizen, who has had a long wait for her first British passport to be issued.

Mrs Hewison, 40, of Craig Street, married her husband, 55-year-old Melvyn, in 2007.

She attended a citizenship ceremony at Darlington town hall last year, but had to attend an interview with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) in November, to verify her identity before the document was issued.

Delays in the usual six-to-eight weeks it takes for passports to be issued followed after IPS officials said an interpreter was needed to help Mrs Hewison communicate, even though she has been learning English for six years.

The couple’s frustration came to an end on Monday (February 25) afternoon, when Mrs Hewison’s passport arrived by recorded delivery.

They are now free to plan holidays abroad.

Mr Hewison said: “I want to show my wife the world and have not been able to do that before, but now I can.

“It is as though a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders, we had been having sleepless nights and anguish and hopefully that is over now.

“We have been through a lot of emotional stress and the relief we both felt on Monday was quite overwhelming.

“It is nice to know I can now just go on the internet and book us a week in Tenerife and not have to worry about it.

“Samik has got the biggest smile on her face that I’ve ever seen - it’s great to see.”

Mr Hewison believes an article about the couple’s plight, which featured in The Northern Echo last week, may have sped up the process of issuing the passport.

He said the IPS contacted a friend of the family who had vouched for Mrs Hewison’s identity during the application process, after the story was published.

He said: “I honestly believe the story helped, it just seems funny that the issue was resolved so soon after the story appeared.”

Mr Hewison also thanked Darlington MP Jenny Chapman for her help highlighting the issue.

Comments (6)

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6:56am Wed 27 Feb 13

jen.smith says...

In times where people are struggling to make ends meet, thiis couple are off for round the world holidays and seem to think everyone needs to know about it? Not jealous but jees, have some respect to those being hard hit by the goverments changes and those being made redundant. Who cares, you got your passport... so what??
In times where people are struggling to make ends meet, thiis couple are off for round the world holidays and seem to think everyone needs to know about it? Not jealous but jees, have some respect to those being hard hit by the goverments changes and those being made redundant. Who cares, you got your passport... so what?? jen.smith
  • Score: 0

10:52am Wed 27 Feb 13

M A hewison says...

jen.smith wrote:
In times where people are struggling to make ends meet, thiis couple are off for round the world holidays and seem to think everyone needs to know about it? Not jealous but jees, have some respect to those being hard hit by the goverments changes and those being made redundant. Who cares, you got your passport... so what??
she wanted the passport to visit her family thats all, she and her husband are struggling like every one, the issue was the passport! no world holidays
[quote][p][bold]jen.smith[/bold] wrote: In times where people are struggling to make ends meet, thiis couple are off for round the world holidays and seem to think everyone needs to know about it? Not jealous but jees, have some respect to those being hard hit by the goverments changes and those being made redundant. Who cares, you got your passport... so what??[/p][/quote]she wanted the passport to visit her family thats all, she and her husband are struggling like every one, the issue was the passport! no world holidays M A hewison
  • Score: 0

5:41pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Gavsky says...

jen.smith wrote:
In times where people are struggling to make ends meet, thiis couple are off for round the world holidays and seem to think everyone needs to know about it? Not jealous but jees, have some respect to those being hard hit by the goverments changes and those being made redundant. Who cares, you got your passport... so what??
It's a pity people who don't know the whole story have to comment. The issue wasn't about a holiday, it was about the terrible mess that the Identity & Passport Service made of the case. It is a public interest story that affects so many people in the UK.

At least now the couple can travel if a family member is ill abroad, that was the concern. And I know the couple ARE struggling like so many others; at least in the future they *might* be able to travel abroad for a holiday (God knows they deserve one!).

In order for a British citizen to get a passport the couple had to involve their MP, the Director of the IPS and finally in desperation: the Northern Echo. Only the publicity in the Echo worked and the IPS should be ashamed of that.

The IPS are busy wasting taxpayers' money by their inefficiency and terrible customer service; we should all be concerned at how poor their service can be - it's our money they waste. As a former Civil Servant who has worked for different Government departments I have been appalled at the treatment of the couple.
[quote][p][bold]jen.smith[/bold] wrote: In times where people are struggling to make ends meet, thiis couple are off for round the world holidays and seem to think everyone needs to know about it? Not jealous but jees, have some respect to those being hard hit by the goverments changes and those being made redundant. Who cares, you got your passport... so what??[/p][/quote]It's a pity people who don't know the whole story have to comment. The issue wasn't about a holiday, it was about the terrible mess that the Identity & Passport Service made of the case. It is a public interest story that affects so many people in the UK. At least now the couple can travel if a family member is ill abroad, that was the concern. And I know the couple ARE struggling like so many others; at least in the future they *might* be able to travel abroad for a holiday (God knows they deserve one!). In order for a British citizen to get a passport the couple had to involve their MP, the Director of the IPS and finally in desperation: the Northern Echo. Only the publicity in the Echo worked and the IPS should be ashamed of that. The IPS are busy wasting taxpayers' money by their inefficiency and terrible customer service; we should all be concerned at how poor their service can be - it's our money they waste. As a former Civil Servant who has worked for different Government departments I have been appalled at the treatment of the couple. Gavsky
  • Score: 1

7:11pm Wed 27 Feb 13

jen.smith says...

Gavsky wrote:
jen.smith wrote:
In times where people are struggling to make ends meet, thiis couple are off for round the world holidays and seem to think everyone needs to know about it? Not jealous but jees, have some respect to those being hard hit by the goverments changes and those being made redundant. Who cares, you got your passport... so what??
It's a pity people who don't know the whole story have to comment. The issue wasn't about a holiday, it was about the terrible mess that the Identity & Passport Service made of the case. It is a public interest story that affects so many people in the UK.

At least now the couple can travel if a family member is ill abroad, that was the concern. And I know the couple ARE struggling like so many others; at least in the future they *might* be able to travel abroad for a holiday (God knows they deserve one!).

In order for a British citizen to get a passport the couple had to involve their MP, the Director of the IPS and finally in desperation: the Northern Echo. Only the publicity in the Echo worked and the IPS should be ashamed of that.

The IPS are busy wasting taxpayers' money by their inefficiency and terrible customer service; we should all be concerned at how poor their service can be - it's our money they waste. As a former Civil Servant who has worked for different Government departments I have been appalled at the treatment of the couple.
They are now free to plan holidays abroad.

Mr Hewison said: “I want to show my wife the world and have not been able to do that before, but now I can.

“It is nice to know I can now just go on the internet and book us a week in Tenerife and not have to worry about it.


You say its not for holidays...Sorry, but no mention of visiting family or illnesses... just holidays. Im glad shes got it sorted though, but I wont take back what I said, a lot of people I know deserve a break, but its just going to be a distant dream..thanks to the pathetic governmenr. I wont be the only one who sees it this way, but no doubt only those who disagree will voice comments for the sake of an arguement.
[quote][p][bold]Gavsky[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jen.smith[/bold] wrote: In times where people are struggling to make ends meet, thiis couple are off for round the world holidays and seem to think everyone needs to know about it? Not jealous but jees, have some respect to those being hard hit by the goverments changes and those being made redundant. Who cares, you got your passport... so what??[/p][/quote]It's a pity people who don't know the whole story have to comment. The issue wasn't about a holiday, it was about the terrible mess that the Identity & Passport Service made of the case. It is a public interest story that affects so many people in the UK. At least now the couple can travel if a family member is ill abroad, that was the concern. And I know the couple ARE struggling like so many others; at least in the future they *might* be able to travel abroad for a holiday (God knows they deserve one!). In order for a British citizen to get a passport the couple had to involve their MP, the Director of the IPS and finally in desperation: the Northern Echo. Only the publicity in the Echo worked and the IPS should be ashamed of that. The IPS are busy wasting taxpayers' money by their inefficiency and terrible customer service; we should all be concerned at how poor their service can be - it's our money they waste. As a former Civil Servant who has worked for different Government departments I have been appalled at the treatment of the couple.[/p][/quote]They are now free to plan holidays abroad. Mr Hewison said: “I want to show my wife the world and have not been able to do that before, but now I can. “It is nice to know I can now just go on the internet and book us a week in Tenerife and not have to worry about it. You say its not for holidays...Sorry, but no mention of visiting family or illnesses... just holidays. Im glad shes got it sorted though, but I wont take back what I said, a lot of people I know deserve a break, but its just going to be a distant dream..thanks to the pathetic governmenr. I wont be the only one who sees it this way, but no doubt only those who disagree will voice comments for the sake of an arguement. jen.smith
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Gavsky says...

The quote printed in the story is unfortunate as it missed-out the point about travelling for family reasons, only the holiday part was printed. Still, the couple have been through so much over the years that a holiday of any sort would be well-deserved (but that's a dream for later).

The point is that a British citizen has at last received her passport after the IPS cocked it all up, again and again. It represents more than just a travel document to a naturalised citizen: it marks the end of a long and expensive journey in becoming British.

My point is that people jump on here and comment when they don't know all of the facts and why it is such an issue; the first story printed detailed more of the problems, so this is the "At last it's over" report.

We do need to know about cases like this because of the appalling way the IPS behaved throughout.
The quote printed in the story is unfortunate as it missed-out the point about travelling for family reasons, only the holiday part was printed. Still, the couple have been through so much over the years that a holiday of any sort would be well-deserved (but that's a dream for later). The point is that a British citizen has at last received her passport after the IPS cocked it all up, again and again. It represents more than just a travel document to a naturalised citizen: it marks the end of a long and expensive journey in becoming British. My point is that people jump on here and comment when they don't know all of the facts and why it is such an issue; the first story printed detailed more of the problems, so this is the "At last it's over" report. We do need to know about cases like this because of the appalling way the IPS behaved throughout. Gavsky
  • Score: 0

3:51am Sun 3 Mar 13

Craz3yk says...

Stop cryin I go on holiday every year I'm from darlo don't make excuses u poor poor bum some one throw him a pound
Stop cryin I go on holiday every year I'm from darlo don't make excuses u poor poor bum some one throw him a pound Craz3yk
  • Score: 0

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