Relief for veteran as he is able to collect a temporary passport to get him to Texas for wheelchair basketball competition

PASSPORT JOY: Former soldier Gaz Golightly in his home in Hartlepool.

PASSPORT JOY: Former soldier Gaz Golightly in his home in Hartlepool.

First published in News

A TRAVEL crisis has had a happy ending after a veteran trying to get to Texas for a wheelchair basketball event was able to pick up a temporary passport to cover his visit.

Gaz Golightly, 32, from Hartlepool, got the document after dashing to the Durham Passport Office on Monday following a phone call telling him it was available.

Mr Golightly has been given the opportunity to go to the US on July 4 to take part in training and competitions with an American wheelchair basketball team – something that could help in his goal to be selected to be part of the Invictus Games in London in September.

Last week he told how he feared he would not be able to go on the trip after his application was caught up in widespread delays in processing of passports.

Yesterday (Wednesday, June 18) Home Secretary Theresa May apologised for the delays and told the House of Commons the Government is doing all it can to deal with the unprecedented surge in demand.

Advice from the Passport Office is that it can take more than six weeks for a first-time passport – but on Monday Mr Golightly was told he could get a temporary passport just in time to register with the trip organisers.

He said: “I’m really relieved to be able to go – I was getting worried that it didn’t look good.

“Now we are just waiting for my wife to give birth to our third child and we hope that will be before I go.”

Invictus Games is a Paralympic-style international event for wounded and injured soldiers and veterans.

Mr Golightly, who lives in Hartlepool with wife Denise and daughters Brianna, two, and Clarissa, four, lost a leg in 2002 when he was driving back to his barracks in Surrey and was forced to swerve to avoid a car that cut in front of him.

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