Mother and daughter who are activists in Labour’s Momentum movement leave children broken-hearted


Mother and daughter who are leading activists in Labour’s Momentum movement ‘leave children broken-hearted after taking more than £90,000 in payments for Disneyland holidays that never happened’

  • Momentum activists took money for Disneyland holiday that never happened 
  • Mother and daughter reported to police after refusing to refund the families  
  • The pair are prominent members of  performance agency Connect Your Talent

A mother and daughter who are leading activists in far-Left Labour movement Momentum have left scores of children broken-hearted after taking more than £90,000 in payments for Disneyland holidays that never happened.

Dorinda Duncan and daughter Anastasia Palikeras have been reported to the police after refusing to refund the money to hard-pressed families.

The prominent members of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn group run modelling and performance agency Connect Your Talent.

Parents of children studying at dance schools had paid the agency for week-long trips to Disneyland in California. In total, more than 100 family members had been due to go. Some had been planning the trips for two years and were told the children would perform at a showcase on the trip but they then discovered that hotels and activities had not been booked.

Heartbroken: Sarah and Stephen Holliday, pictured with their children, from left, Alesha, Joshua and Tiffany, saved for two years to raise the £3,500 for their California trip

Heartbroken: Sarah and Stephen Holliday, pictured with their children, from left, Alesha, Joshua and Tiffany, saved for two years to raise the £3,500 for their California trip

Ms Duncan is chairman of Momentum’s Greenwich arm and her profile says she supports ‘the fight against injustice in our society’.

Daughter and fellow Momentum activist Ms Palikeras, 23, boasted last month in an article that she organises ‘a campaign with Momentum called the ‘Unseat’ Campaign’ that targets leading Tory MPs’ constituencies.

The families of pupils at the Macadam School of Dance in Aycliffe, County Durham, and the Sonya Marie Academy of Dance in Darlington, paid £63,000 into Ms Palikeras’s bank account for the trip.

But in September, Diane Macadam Plews, owner of Macadam, learned that their hotel stay at Hyatt Place in Los Angeles had not been booked.

Emailing Ms Duncan to complain, she was told Ms Duncan was ill and could no longer handle the trip and that Connect Your Talent would not give refunds but the holiday could be moved to next April.

Many families said they were not able to make the new dates.

Dorinda Duncan

Anastasia Paikeras

Fraud probe: Dorinda Duncan and daughter Anastasia Palikeras have been reported to the police after refusing to refund the money to hard-pressed families

Ms Macadam has reported her concerns to Trading Standards and the police’s Action Fraud hotline. Recalling telling students the trip was off, she said: ‘A lot of the children just burst into tears. They all had been practising the routines they were going to perform.’

Sarah and Stephen Holliday from Darlington, Co Durham, saved £3,500 over two years to pay for themselves and their children, Alesha, ten, Tiffany, eight, and Joshua, four, to go.

Stephen, a kitchen fitter, said: ‘I worked over 50 hours’ overtime to pay the £3,500.’ Sarah said: ‘The children just cried and cried.’

Another group of 28 children and parents from Coatbridge near Glasgow handed more than £30,000 to the agency for another week-long trip to LA and Disneyland in October.

The children, from the Firebird Dance Company, learned only three days before they were due to leave that it would no longer go ahead. Firebird owner Natalie Skinner said: ‘Dorinda Duncan is a complete hypocrite robbing from those less well-off to apparently line her own pockets. Does Momentum know what she’s really like?’

An Action Fraud spokesman said the allegations are being assessed by the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

Connect Your Talent said: ‘We are still working with the dance schools to find a date that will work for them.’

 



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