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IQ Exclusive: Flamingoland Being Sued!
Posted By Aly on Monday 23rd July 2007 @ 9:45 PM | Filed Under: Misc

IQ Exclusive: Flamingoland Being Sued!

Island Quest News Exclusive.

One of Britain's biggest theme parks has been accused of racism after refusing a gypsy mum and her family a caravan holiday.

Mary McKenzie is suing Flamingo Land for 5,000 after she had a booking cancelled by the company. The 32-year-old planned to take her children Margaret, 15; Michelle, 11; George, 9; and Sandy, 8; for five days. But 10 days before she was due to travel the company cancelled her booking and refunded her cash.

Mary believes it was because they checked her address and discovered it was a travellers site. She clains a non-gypsy friend phoned Flamingo Land, North Yorkshire, to make a booking for the same week in April and was told there were still vacancies.

Mary's case is being backed by the Commission for Racial Equality who are paying the costs of her legal fight. She has already refused 500 compensation. Mary was born in Dunfermline and has lived in gypsy sites across Scotland all her life. Her family have lived in a council run site in Girvan, Ayrshire, for seven years.

Yesterday Mary declined to comment but her mother, Isobel Reid, 65, who also lives on the Girvan site, said "My daughter was shocked when they cancelled her booking. It appears they made the decission after checking her address and discovering it was a travellers' site. Our money is as good as anyone's. I have eight children and 28 grandchildren and not one of them has ever been in trouble. We are Scottish and do not see why we should be treated any differently."

The Commission for Racial Equality would not comment on the case but confirmed they are acting for Mary. Michelle Lloyd, of Save The Children, said: "The children of travellers face discrimination every day from members of the public, teachers, doctors and police officers. People seem to think it is still okay to discriminate against gypsies. We have had children in tears because they have been refused entry to swimming pools or not allowed to hire DVDs from stores because of their addresses."

"Many council run camps are near the worst areas such as refuse dumps, railway lines or electricity sub statins. It is usally land that cannot be sold. The site in Girvan, for example is prone to flooding."

Flamingo Land, which has an office in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, Scotland, is ranked among the top 6 theme parks in Britain and also has a zoo. Mary had planned to travel down by car with her family and stay in a caravan in the park's holiday village.

Flamingo Land - whose slogan is Wild Animals, Wilder Rides - failed to return our calls. Their cmpany secretary, Joeseph Friel, who is based in Gourock, Renfrewshire, Scotland, told us: "I have nothing to say about it."

Mary's case will be heard at Hamilton Sheriff Court in September.IQ

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