A troupe of Zulu Warriors on a UK tour got lost and turned up at the wrong address 200 miles away – because of post-code cock-up.
The nine-strong Lions of Zululand were mid-way through a six month tour of the UK when they were booked to perform at a school in London.
However due to a blunder over the address, they turned up un-announced at a school in Welton near Hull, East Yorks, 200 miles away,
Despite the blunder, the dance troupe put on an impromptu performance to 140 delighted special needs kids aged three to 19 at St Anne’s School at Sixth Form
The blunder came about because of a paperwork mix-up, which showed the correct West London postcode for St Anne’s Secondary School in Brentford.
However it also included the incorrect East Yorkshire address and phone number for the school.
The manager of the Lions had googled the East Yorkshire phone number, which gave him the postcode of St Anne’s School and Sixth Form College in Welton.
Unaware they were supposed to be in London, the bus headed North.
Soon after arriving, it became clear they should have been at a school with a similar name but in the capital.
Assistant Head at the Yorkshire St Anne’s Christine Lee said: “We arrived a school in the morning and the lions were already there waiting outside at 8am.
“They asked if this was St Anne’s and we said that it was but we weren’t expecting them. It turned out that they were meant to be in London.
“They asked the caretaker if this was London when they arrived.”
The Lion’s UK sponsor Damien Downling said: “The were supposed to go to London and we got a phone call from the school there who were asking where they were.
“It was an honest mistake just like we’d make if we were visiting another country.
“Miraculously they turned up at another school called St Anne’s in Hull and it worked out beautifully.”
After realising their mistake, the warrior troupe stayed to give two performances to the surprised pupils and staff, performing for the lower school in the morning and the upper school in the afternoon.
Ms Lee said: “They were supposed to be at a special school in London for a full day so it was their loss and our gain.
“We have children with severe learning difficulties and complex learning needs from the ages of 2-19.
“They weren’t embarrassed. They just rang the school they were supposed to be at and they were fine about it. By about 8.45am it was all sorted and they were happy to stay.
“We would absolutely have them back. The kids and staff said it was the best thing that we’ve had and we obviously get a lot of visitors to engage with the children.
“We got a very reduced rate and they put us in touch with a charity who pay around 50 percent of the cost.
“The kids absolutely loved it. Some of them joined in with the dancing and they were all really engaged. Some of the older kids even tried on the clothes after the dancing finished.”
The Lions went into the classrooms and met the children after the performance, sitting with them and talking to them about their culture.
Mr Dowling said: “The school in London were absolutely fine about it. They were very gracious about the whole thing. They were disappointed obviously, but we will definitely reschedule with them if not this year the next year.”
The dancers have been touring the UK for 13 years and are part-sponsored by the Happy Days Children’s Charity in Luton.
The troupe arrived in the UK in late April and are touring until the end of July when they will return to South Africa.
The members are from KwaZulu-Natal province, and three of them were on their first ever trip abroad from their village.
The Lions are based in Sunderland while they tour the UK, and their hectic schedule this week had the troupe in Grimsby, North East Lincs., Luton, West London, Bishop Auckland and Newcastle before mix up took them to Yorkshire instead of the capital.