A mum has been slapped with a £100 parking fine for overstaying a waiting bay for nine minutes as she handed over her severely disabled son for a few hours respite care.
Widowed mum Charlotte Cheshire, 44, took son Adam to meet his carer for an afternoon of fun, and parked up in Telford town centre.
Adam, 11, needs 24-hour care, so the chance of a few hours respite was much needed and would mean his mum could have a break from the mental and physical toll of caring for a disabled child alone, since the death of her husband in 2020.
Adam's carer was stuck in stationary traffic and arrived late, meaning Charlotte overstayed in the parking area for nine minutes longer than the allotted 10 minute waiting time.
Adam was looking forward to a few hours with his carer
Knowing time was short she opted to wait it out, rather than loading Adam back into the car with him thinking the planned afternoon's activity at the nearby Inflata Nation – an inflatable theme park – had been cancelled.
She told the Mirror: "Adam is my baby, I adore him, but he's a big child.
"When he gets upset I'm not going to walk away without bruises so I'm trying to control what I can. I'm constantly on alert.
"I had parked up thinking we'd be gone within the 10 minutes."
Rev'd Charlotte with son Adam, 11
She added: "I had prepared Adam for 'now blue car, next carer, then play'.
"If I had tried to put him back into the car as timed waiting period ended, for a loop round the centre to another space, a violent meltdown would have ensued with certain injuries to me."
The respite care means a lot to both mum and son.
Charlotte is currently paying for the care privately as the family awaits an assessment in their new area after moving house.
Adam was left profoundly disabled after his care at birth at the scandal hit Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust fell woefully short and was part of the Ockenden report published in March.
Charlotte, from Newport, Shropshire, said: "Respite gives me time to breathe, time to do the grocery shopping, just do day to day things I can't do with him. Sometimes it is just a time to rest.
"I love Adam to pieces but he is incredibly hard work, not just the physical things like changing nappies, it's the constant flight or flight mode, planning what's going to happen next.
"Respite gives me that bit of strength to keep going."
Charlotte was sent a £100 fine from Smart Parking after her car was clocked on their ANPR cameras.
Charlotte is a Church of England priest
Asked about the parking fine, mum Charlotte said all she is asking for is a bit of understanding for disabled people and their families.
She added: "They are right, I stayed in the waiting area longer than I should have done but I'm looking for a bit of compassion.
"I honestly thought my blue badge would mean we would get longer, we never left the vicinity of the car, we didn't go off for sneaky shopping trip.
"Unless you've lived with a disabled person, you just don't get it."
Smart Parking has agreed to cancel the charge, after they were contacted by the Mirror.
A spokesman said: "In the case of Ms Cheshire she parked in a clearly marked pick up/drop off point for nearly 20 minutes, which is unfair to other motorists who needed to drop off and pick up, and this is why she correctly received a charge.
"However as an act of compassion in this particular case we have decided to cancel her charge."