A DUNFERMLINE charity which faced losing more than £8,500 on flights to Japan has been reimbursed with travel vouchers.

In May, the Press reported that Carnegie Dojo Karate Club, based in Pilmuir Street, had made bookings with British Airways in January to take some of its students and family members to the JKA (Japan Karate Association) Karate World Championship next month.

Fundraising by members of the Dojo had enabled them to make the trip but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was postponed and rescheduled to take place in October 2021.

As part of its response to COVID-19, British Airways offered passengers the opportunity to apply for vouchers to rebook for a future date but told the charity that they were not entitled to them.

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman also took up the Dojo's case but instructor Gordon Williamson revealed that the cancellation of one flight within their booking led to them receiving travel vouchers from the airline.

"It was only maybe two to three weeks ago we got an email from British Airways saying that they had to cancel one of the flights," he explained.

"Obviously we fly Edinburgh-London, London-Tokyo, Tokyo-London, London-Edinburgh. I think it was the one from London to Edinburgh that had been cancelled but, because of that and that it was all booked as a single booking, they then had to honour us and give us vouchers.

"That was a big relief; that saved us £8,500. What I couldn't comprehend was that they didn't seem to care. It was very much this is a business, we have to run a business.

"We had Douglas Chapman involved and he had the same response from them – tough, that's how it is at the moment, you just need to wait and see what happens. We're panicking and worried that, potentially, this could put the charity under.

"It would've caused absolute chaos next year when we're trying to raise that kind of money again, and it's 10 times worse now because money is so tight for everybody. We've never had any donations or anything coming in for the last five months but we still had outgoings.

"We've survived and that's the main thing. We just need to build on what we've got now and build the club back up again and make it better than what it was."

Gordon, who added that training had resumed at the Dojo with further easing of lockdown restrictions, is now hopeful of taking the group to Japan next year, adding: "We've got up until 2022 to use them.

"As long as it goes ahead next October, we'll be fine. If not, we'll look into taking the kids to Japan and let them train but without going to a World Championships, because if we don't, we will lose the vouchers.

"We just hope that by next October things get back to normal there as well."