Leisure bosses have apologised to a wheelchair user who says he was told to ‘prove’ his disability while holidaying in Blackpool. Liam Maxwell, 26, who has cerebral palsy and scoliosis, says he was asked to ‘provide ID to prove he was disabled’ by staff at Madame Tussauds Blackpool while paying for a ticket on Saturday with his assistant, Wendy Plant. Liam, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent, said: “We sort of looked at each other in disbelief. Was the fact that I was in a wheelchair not proof enough?”
The pair were also told by staff that they would only be able to explore the ground floor of the waxworks exhibition, as Liam could not use his wheelchair in the lift for ‘health and safety’ reasons. But Liam says he visited the attraction in June 2017 and was able to access the upper floors in his chair at that time. He said: “I felt a bit dejected. This is something I have come to expect as a wheelchair user – I’ve had all sorts of problems getting on and off public transport – but it is not something I would expect from a big company like Merlin.”
He added that he returned to Madame Tussauds the following day to complain and was offered a free drink as an apology on one of the attraction’s upper floors that he was previously denied access to. He said: “The manager we asked for when we complained didn’t seem overly keen on doing anything.
“I wanted to be reassured that nobody else would be treated that way. It’s about standing up for what you believe in.” Madame Tussauds Blackpool offers free tickets for carers. Its website states that ‘proof of disability’ is required. General manager Matthew Titherington said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to the guest for the misunderstandings experienced when he visited the attraction this weekend.” Madame Tussauds said: “Our admissions team member asked whether his companion was his carer, as this would mean they would receive free entry and did not mean this to be misconstrued. While the attraction is mostly accessible for people with disabilities, there is just one area that unfortunately is not suitable for large wheelchairs or scooters.