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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Milo Boyd

Students face losing thousands as gap year charity used by teen Prince William folds

Would-be gap year students may have lost thousands of pounds and the chance to go on a trip of a lifetime following the folding of a travel firm.

Specialist gap year charity Raleigh International closed its doors yesterday after 44 years of operating, which included taking Prince William and Kate Middleton on trips.

The company announced it was stopping trading yesterday, making all staff redundant and cancelling all future expeditions.

Many young people who had signed up for trips with the firm had paid them thousands of pounds of their own money and fundraised cash over the past week.

Now they're unsure whether they'll ever see that money again, with Raleigh International having given no guarantees of refunds.

(Tim Graham Photo Library via Get)

Rosie Giesler, from Cambridge, raised £3,600 for a Raleigh International trip to Costa Rica.

She did so by working and busking for an adventure that had been cancelled in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 21-year-old had forked out for vaccinations and other essentials ahead of the trip, and handed over the final sum for the adventure just two weeks ago, the Independent reported.

A day before the organisation folded she spoke to staff who gave her complete confidence that the Central American jaunt would go ahead.

“Imagine how we feel, to get this news less than 24 hours later,” her mother, Dawn, said.

“I expect we’ll never see that money again. And she was so looking forward to the adventure: travel and excitement and working within a long-established organisation we hoped we could trust.

“She’s not the only one. It’s just such a shame when these young adults have worked hard to raise funds and they have no recourse.”

In folding the firm has left many young people in the lurch, including Mary Chubb, whose son was due to go to Nepal in July and had topped up his fundraising with £900 of his own money.

"Mine too," Robert Fraser said of his son.

(Tim Graham Photo Library via Get)

"177 miles walked, £3000 raised, dreams dashed. Another Covid nightmare for our young people. Terrible mismanagement. So sad..."

A man named Mr Smith added: "Same has happened with my son. Saved up and paid for the flights and accommodation from part time job! No information on the web site."

The blow will be felt particularly keenly by many of the hopeful adventurers who've had two past two years of school or university badly disrupted by the pandemic.

The charity says that a combination of funding cuts and the pandemic signalled the end of the road.

A statement on its website reads: “It is with enormous sadness that we report Raleigh International Trust will cease operating from Thursday 19 May 2022.

“Since 1978 our charity has placed over 55,000 young people from over 100 countries in our international sustainable development programmes.

"However, despite our team’s intensive fundraising efforts, continuous hard work and ongoing cost-saving measures in the face of increased economic pressures, we have been advised that the charity is insolvent.

“Regrettably, the combination of dramatically reduced funding and foreign aid, plus the legacy of two years of delayed or cancelled programmes, due to the Covid-19 global pandemic and its associated overseas travel restrictions, have had an irreversible impact.

“We appreciate this news will come as a devastating blow to our volunteers and supporters.

“The team at Raleigh International are extremely proud of the positive impact we have made over the years to help communities across the world and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone – from volunteers and staff to communities, project partners and funders – who have supported our work.”

The charity has told volunteers and volunteer managers that they will be contacted over the coming weeks.

The Citizens Advice bureau offers guidance on what to do if a travel company has gone bust - you can read this here.

Have you been affected by the closure? Email us at

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