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Somerset students trapped in USA by Hurricane Sandy superstorm

By Cheddar Valley Gazette  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

  • The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

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The reach of superstorm Sandy is disrupting life for worried parents 3,672 miles away in the Cheddar Valley.

Some 45 sixth formers from Churchill Academy who were due home yesterday from an exciting trip to the USA are instead trapped in Washington DC for another week.

The Year 12 party were sheltering in their hotel while the northeastern coast of America was battered by hurricane force winds.

Damp-haired 16 and 17-year-olds briefly appeared on BBC1 News on Tuesday as “schoolchildren from Bristol”. They flew out to the USA on Friday and were originally expected back yesterday.

Their London-bound flight, like many others, was cancelled on Tuesday and trip organisers were rearranging their coach connection at Heathrow airport back to Churchill. Now they are booked on a November 6 flight, though an earlier trip might be possible if cancellations happen.

Updates are being posted on www.churchill.n-somerset.sch.uk.

The hotel where the children are staying has fared well compared to other parts of Washington. They are allowed to continue staying there.

Transport chiefs expected to get buses and trains back in service in Washington on Tuesday afternoon – albeit a Sunday level service – with full transport restored on Wednesday morning.

Churchill Academy puts on a trip to the USA every two years for students to learn about the American political system in the nation’s capital and how it compares to our own. The Empire State Building and Congress were highlights of the six-day history and political trip, which was to take in Washington, Gettysburg and New York a week before the US presidential elections.

The extra six days in the US will give them even more time to study the elections.

Year 11 pupils considering joining Churchill Academy were also eligible to go on the trip.

Other travellers from the Cheddar Valley were in New York at the time Sandy hit. Joseph Rajkovic of 2J’s Travel in Wedmore said a local family were in the city but were housed in a good hotel with power and were expected back safely today.

Two ladies who booked via Winscombe Travel were staying in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – which some US news sources said was fully booked by wealthy New Yorkers wanting to sit out the storm in luxury – and were due back at the time of going to press yesterday.

Were you in the USA when Sandy hit? Tell the editor your adventures at editor@midsomnews.co.uk or The Editor, Cheddar Valley Gazette, Southover, Wells, BA5 1UH.

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