Hurricane hits group’s US trip

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A TOURING party from Spalding were left stranded in their hotel in New York for two days when Hurricane Irene brought havoc to the city.

A TOURING party from Spalding were left stranded in their hotel in New York for two days when Hurricane Irene brought havoc to the city.

Polka Dot Productions’ Darren Maddison and partner Neil Couperthwaite took a team of 15 teenagers to the Big Apple for the chance to perform in Central Park.

The group headed out last Thursday but, as the city became gripped by fear that a hurricane would hit, their performance was cancelled.

They had to stay in their hotel for two days as the storm hit and were moved from their ground floor room as they prepared for a predicted five-and-a-half feet of rain.

Darren has been keeping in touch with his family, who were glued to the news to see the events unfold and were relived when the hurricane was downgraded and the affects not as bad as forecasted.

Sister Hayley Rudkin said: “The first day was boiling hot but on the Friday they were only allowed out until about 2pm. All the transport system was shut down and they were stuck in their hotel for about two days.

“They were evacuated from their floor and moved up to a higher level but it turned out to be not half as bad as they thought.

“Darren took it very well and all the kids were great. Even though it was a long time in the hotel Darren said they were fantastic.

“It was worrying but being in touch made it easier.”

Polka Dot had teamed up with an American theatre to set up the trip across the Atlantic and the drama in New York unfolded as Darren appeared on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den at the weekend (see page eight).

Mum Sandra, who lives in Pinchbeck, said: “Everything’s happening at once – I was very proud to see him on the telly.

“It’s a good job we’ve got mobile phones these days – we’ve been sending messages backwards and forwards while he’s been in New York.”

The group was due home on Thursday (September 1).