Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder visit Princess Seaways

Students from Norham High School on board Princess Seaways

On 20 September, DFDS Newcastle had the pleasure of welcoming 11 students and eight teachers from Norham High School on board Princess Seaways. The students all have Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, a complex development disorder, which means they have difficulties in communicating and some behavioural issues.

They were greeted at the terminal by Chris Whitfield, Operations Manager, and James Cook, Terminal Operations Supervisor, who were on hand to answer the abundance of questions the children had prepared.

Chris says: “Once on board, the children were met by Jack the Pirate who handed them balloons, and Lucas Winther Haagensen, Floor Manager Restaurant, who provided the children with a refreshing iced slush drink. It was a special day for the children, but also for one very special teacher from the group who was celebrating her 60th birthday. The staff from Princess Seaways very kindly presented Mrs Linda Robson with a lovely birthday cake, which was very well received.”

Helen Ashburner, ARP Manager at Norham High School, says: “We really appreciate all the effort that DFDS has gone to in order to provide this opportunity for the children. The children have had a great experience and learned some valuable life skills today, and the cake was lovely! Our compliments to the chefs! We hope that we can make this educational visit an annual occasion.”

Chris says: “When Helen contacted me regarding the visit, we didn’t hesitate to say yes. It is great to see the value that these small visits bring, and the happiness on the children’s faces. Besides, all the teachers took brochures with them for future trips on our vessels. Something as small as this creates great opportunities to grow the passenger business. The school group is based just 10 minutes away from the terminal, and has never travelled! Now they have seen the facility and what we can offer on board, word of mouth travels fast. The group were so grateful for the tour and the time we took to answer questions. It was a fantastic trip for them and required minimal effort from us to facilitate it. My extended thanks to the crew of Princess Seaways and my wonderful port staff who helped make this visit so enjoyable for students and staff alike.

“Special thanks also to Jade Whitfield, Port Office Manager, and Tamara Rebair, Port Office Supervisor, who created some lovely gift bags for the children – containing pencils, maps, stickers and pirate hats!”


A teacher from the group was celebrating her 60th birthday. Here she is with Chris Whitfield

September 27, 2019