Page last updated at 09:05 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 10:05 UK

Diabetic heads home from blockade

French fishermen block the the Channel port of Boulogne-sur-Mer
Fishermen are using their boats to stop ferries entering and leaving port

An eight-year-old diabetic swimmer caught up in a ports' blockade by French fishermen is on her way home.

Casey-May Ratcliffe's grandfather Gerald Sims, whom she is travelling with, had feared she could run out of insulin and slip into a coma.

But the pair, along with Casey-May's mother, have boarded a ferry to Dover and say they have enough insulin to get home to Cwmbran, south Wales.

French authorities had said they would provide the drug if necessary.

The family, who had been with a swimming group, had been stranded in the port Calais by the action.

Mr Sims had warned they needed to get home for more insulin by 0800 BST on Thursday.

Speaking from the dockside of the French port on Wednesday evening, Mr Sims said: "My daughter Donna, Casey-May's mother, is here with the party and when she realised the situation we are in she cried, to be honest with you.

Ambulance

"She is OK now but the situation is very tense because we do not know what is going to happen."

However, their ferry was eventually loaded and docked in Dover later on Wednesday evening.

Mr Sims had said the French authorities said they would get insulin for Casey-May if the party remained stranded there into Thursday.

Mr Sims is the chief coach of the Cwmbran Otters swimming club which had been to a training camp in France over Easter.

The coach party of 49, aged between four and 50 and including dozens of young teenagers, was due back in Cwmbran at 2000 BST on Wednesday.

'Angry people'

But the industrial action in France in a dispute over fishing quotas has meant ships have been prevented leaving or entering the ports of Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk since Tuesday.

Mr Sims said the coach party arrived in France on Good Friday for a training camp called Sportica.

On Tuesday they moved on to Disneyland, near Paris, and stayed the night in the area.

They left early this morning for the final five-hour run to Calais and were close to the front of the queues which were forming.

"There are a lot of tired and angry people in cars, trucks and vans here at the moment. It is a very stressful situation," he said.

He said the coach was originally due to set off on a SeaFrance sailing to Dover at 1355 French time on Wednesday.



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