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Good Samaritan threatened with arrest after organising train whip-round for pensioner’s £115 penalty fare

Friday, October 10, 2008

A train manager threatened to have a commuter arrested after he came to the rescue of a vulnerable fellow passenger.

Stand-up comedian Tom Wrigglesworth intervened when the Virgin Trains manager demanded an elderly passenger buy a new ticket because she had got on the wrong train.

Lena Ainscow, 75, sobbed as she was forced to hand over £115 for a new ticket, despite having been told to board that service by Virgin staff.

Wrigglesworth, 32, stepped in and organised a whip-round among passengers for her.


But the train manager saw him, said the collection was akin to begging and called police before warning him to hand back the cash or face being arrested.

Mrs Ainscow was travelling to see daughter Carol Battersby, her two sons, and husband Ian, a Regimental Sergeant Major with the Royal Artillery who has recently returned from Iraq.
Her £11.50 pre-booked ticket for the trip to see the family in Bromley was for yesterday’s 10.45am Manchester to Euston service but her Virgin travel itinerary said she had been booked on the 10.15am service and she was advised to board the train by Virgin staff in Manchester.

Her explanation and pleas for discretionary sympathy failed to sway the manager who forced her to pay for a new ticket.

Wrigglesworth, from Shadwell, east London, who is a regular at the Comedy Store in Piccadilly Circus, pleaded with him but was told not to interfere.