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Nurse ‘inconsolable’ at thought mum could miss her wedding due to passport delays

Ashleigh Jenkins, from Bridgend has worked for NHS Wales for six years and has been looking forward to marrying her childhood sweetheart Matthew Jenkins for years – especially after having to postpone their special day twice due to Covid regulations

Ashleigh’s mum Marian doesn’t yet have her passport so it’s unlikely she’ll be able to watch her daughter walk down the aisle

Image: Ashleigh Jenkins)

An A&E nurse has been left devastated as her beloved mum could miss her wedding over a passport delay issue.

Ashleigh Jenkins, from Bridgend, has worked for NHS Wales for six years and has been looking forward to marrying her childhood sweetheart Matthew Jenkins for years – especially after having to postpone their special day twice due to Covid regulations.

The pair have been together since 2008, having met as teenagers through Ashleigh’s cousin who went to school with Matt.

While they were friends at first it wasn’t long before their friendship grew into something more.

Ashleigh said: “I had just come back from a family holiday and he from a rugby tour in South Africa and we met up with friends not expecting to see the other person there – but there we both were.

He took my hand and held it and we’ve been together ever since, I was 15 and he was 16.

“We had our legal Covid [marriage] service to sign the documents last May, 2021, so that we could finally have our wedding ceremony in June 2022.”

Ashleigh and Matthew are getting married in France next week
(

Image:

Ashleigh Jenkins)

Ashleigh Jenkins and her mum Marian Jones have been waiting months for the mum’s passport
(

Image:

Ashleigh Jenkins)

The couple’s wedding is set to take place on Wednesday, June 22, in a gorgeous chateau the couple have rented in the Loire Valley in France.

Alongside the bride and groom the couple’s parents, siblings, siblings’ partners, and a few close friends are preparing to jet off to celebrate the special occasion.

But as Ashleigh’s mum Marian doesn’t yet have her passport it’s unlikely she’ll be able to watch her daughter walk down the aisle and marry the man of her dreams.

Knowing that the Passport Office is taking some time to issue passports Ashleigh helped her mum apply for her first passport back in February.

The pair posted the application on February 7 and received confirmation from the passport office on March 29 that the application had been received and was being processed.

But as of June 17 – Marian still hasn’t received her passport.

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The Passport Office advises Brits to allow 10 weeks for their passports to arrive.

Ashleigh and her mum Marian have now been waiting 11 weeks since they received confirmation that Marian’s passport application was being processed and more than four months since they the application.

The pair say they’ve asked the Passport Office for information several times over the past few months but have been given little detail about the delay.

They’re holding out hope the passport will arrive in time for the family’s flight to France on Monday, or by the wedding next Wednesday, but it’s looking unlikely.

The pair are desperate for the passport to arrive on time
(

Image:

Ashleigh Jenkins)

Ashleigh said: “I am finally getting married to my childhood sweetheart in France after our wedding has been postponed twice already due to Covid.

“All of this is amazing. However my mother placed an application for a new passport on February 7, 2022, and has frequently been in touch with the Passport Office throughout who have never voiced any concerns and stated she would receive her passport on Wednesday [June 15].

“She contacted them again last week to ask when they’d be sending the passport as she’d rather collect it in person from the Newport office to ensure it would arrive by our departure date of June 20, 2022.

“The Passport Office has now stated that they will not be finalizing their application in time for our flight on Monday, June 20, and have given their no date of completion or delivery.

“When questioned we get no answers at all and on average only receive a call back every fifth phone call that we make with no further information.

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“Despite my wonderful mother phoning every day and being physically sick from stress, contacting her local MP as well as her GP, we’re no further to answers or resolution.

“My mother has been my rock throughout the most horrendous two and a half years working on the frontline and I cannot fathom that she won’t be there on my wedding day.

“I’ve been strong until now but I’m just inconsolable at the thought that she might not be there.”

WalesOnline contacted the Home Office to ask what had happened to Ms Jones’ passport application and why it had been delayed so long.

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In response a spokesman for HM Passport Office said: “Staff are processing approximately 250,000 passport applications each week and the latest figures show that 98.5% of applications have been completed within 10 weeks.

“But we cannot compromise security checks and people should apply with plenty of time prior to travelling.

“Since April 2021 we’ve clearly stated that people should allow up to 10 weeks when applying for their passport to factor in the increased demand, which has seen five million people delay their passport application due to the pandemic.

“An expedited service is available to help the small percentage of people whose applications take longer than 10 weeks to receive their passports before they travel.”

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