Children at a small village school have been left disappointed after their much-anticipated trip to the theatre was derailed by train strikes.
Pupils at St Joseph's Catholic Primary in Aylesham have been excited for months about taking the train into Canterbury to see the Sleeping Beauty pantomime at the Marlowe.
But with national rail strikes announced for Tuesday, December 13, executive head teacher Karen Riddell says plans to get the youngsters to the venue on the day have become much more difficult.
“We had it planned a year in advance,” said Mrs Riddell.
“The reason we travel on the train is so that the children can go for just £1 each.
“With the cost of living crisis, we’re trying to keep any cost to parents as low as we possibly can.
“But now with the rail strike, the cost of getting all the children there by coach would cost a fortune for the school."
The school trip to the hugely-popular pantomime - this year starring Ore Oduba and Carrie Hope Fletcher - has become something of a tradition in recent years.
But this year's excursion looks doubtful, as administrators estimate transporting 130 children and 20 staff to the Marlowe by coach will cost upwards of £1,000.
“It’s something extra we do outside of the regular curriculum - something fun for the kids,” added Mrs Riddell, who enjoyed going to pantomimes herself as a child.
“A lot of our children come from quite deprived backgrounds. Unless we give them this opportunity to go, they won’t go, which is why we’re trying to get them there.
"For lots of the children this a huge experience to go to Canterbury at Christmas and see the panto. We really don't want them to miss out."
One Year 2 pupil said they would be very sad if the trip was cancelled, while another said they had been to the pantomime before and liked the singing, dancing and all the lights.
The school has launched a fundraising page to help generate the cash for transport.
More than 40,000 rail workers will be staging nationwide walk-outs in the run-up to Christmas.
Union members across Network Rail and 14 train companies, including Southeastern - which operates the line between Aylesham and Canterbury - will take part in the industrial action in December and January.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union says it is striking over “job security, pay and conditions”.
The strike days are December 13, 14, 16 and 17, and January 3, 4, 6 and 7.
If you can help the school with transport to the pantomime, email firstname.lastname@example.org.