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‘Wheelchair users were being piggy backed to their cars’ - Holkham Estate comes in for more criticism over Tom Jones concert

PUBLISHED: 09:00 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:28 26 July 2017

Tom Jones performing on stage at Holkham Hall. Picture: D Kirkham/Valley Music

Tom Jones performing on stage at Holkham Hall. Picture: D Kirkham/Valley Music

Valley Music

A Tom Jones concert at Holkham Hall sparked widespread criticism from ticketholders who found themselves stuck on gridlocked roads for hours but people with disabilities have said the traffic was far from the only problem.

Holkham Hall. Picture: Ian BurtHolkham Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

According to several disabled concertgoers the organisers had not put any disabled access in place and there was no designated parking forcing people to cross fields of uneven grass to reach the concert.

Cathy Waller, a disabled woman who travelled to Holkham Hall from London, called the disabled access “appalling”.

“There was no designated disabled parking. I saw people in wheelchairs having to be carried across the grounds”, she said.

“I spoke to an elderly lady who was in a wheelchair and she said there was only one disabled toilet and it was locked. They then got someone to open it to see that it was filthy and hadn’t been cleaned.”

MORE: Holkham Hall issues apology after Sir Tom Jones concert disruption

When the concert finished Ms Waller said she saw wheelchair users being piggy backed to their cars.

“The main problem with this is that Holkham Hall said this event was accessible. It was not. How an establishment can either decide to not make these arrangements or hire a company that doesn’t understand access requirements is ridiculous,” she added.

“People did not pay for a Glastonbury style event, it was a Tom Jones concert at a prestigious hall and grounds with stated disabled access.”

MORE: Sir Tom Jones fans angry and frustrated after spending up to four hours queueing at Holkham Hall concert in Norfolk

Mandy Hawes, a support worker from Brundall accompanied a woman with learning disabilities. She said: “The whole day was ruined. I kept asking where disabled parking was but no one wanted to help and I don’t think anyone knew.

“Getting back to the car was also a joke as there were no lights. I had to hold our chairs, support my lady and try to hold my phone for the torch light. How we didn’t get run over, I do not know.

“No one had time for each other, everyone was trying to get out and go down two exits - it was ridiculous. How people were caring for those in wheelchairs, I do not know.”

MORE: Sir Tom Jones, Holkham Hall, music review: Baritone star showed no signs of slowing down at Norfolk gig

On Monday the Holkham Estate said on social media it is investigating the cause of traffic delays.

The estate has not yet commented further on this or responded to questions from this newspaper about disability issues.

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