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Norfolk schoolchildren on way home after being delayed for hours in France after coach broke down

Headteacher Neil Powell, front centre right, with other staff at North Walsham High School. He has posted to social media after students were stuck in France.  Picture: Andy Newman

Headteacher Neil Powell, front centre right, with other staff at North Walsham High School. He has posted to social media after students were stuck in France. Picture: Andy Newman

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A group of students whose return from a school trip to France was delayed for more than 15 hours because their coach broke down have made it home.

The students from North Walsham High School had been in France for a watersports trip at an activity centre run by Rockley.

But, on their way back from the centre, the group of about 50 children and five members of school staff were stuck for hours outside the town of Alencon in Normandy, because their coach had broken down.

Neil Powell, headteacher at North Walsham High School, said at just after 9pm on Friday June 14 that the problem had been fixed and the children were on their way home.

The oil compressor on the coach, which was part of the package Rockley had provided, had broken and there had been difficulties in finding a replacement coach.

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Speaking on Friday, Mr Powell had said: "That's not been something easily fixed and, because it's the Le Mans race this weekend, it seems pretty much every coach in France has been booked.

"We have been on the phone to the company all day. They have done two things, in that they have got a coach at Dover waiting to bring the children home when they get off the ferry.

"And the managing director of the company has gone from Wales and, driven to Dover and gone on the ferry to get to the coach to fix it.

"The children are all fine, they have been fed and are at a service station. One of my senior members of staff is there with them, so they are being well cared for.

"Of course, we understand the anxiety of the parents. We have been contacting them to let them know the latest situation and the majority of them have been understanding and supportive, with some of them trying to help find a solution."

Rockley have been contacted for comment.

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