Sue Hatch, Tilehurst, Berkshire

Travel to and from the Isle of Wight has long been criticised for the expense and restrictive T&Cs.

I have been using Red Funnel as a preferred carrier for more than 40 years to visit parents living on the Island and have always found them convenient and reasonably priced, now that as a loyal customer I have access to discount vouchers.

However, I recently booked a crossing to visit at Easter that had to be cancelled at the last minute due to family illness and an impending emergency operation.

When I asked for a credit note to be used for a future crossing, I was told a cancellation would incur a 50 per cent loss of the cost of my ticket (the ticket cost £150), or if I re-booked within the specified time of the discount voucher a £5 administration charge would be added.

I had never been in this situation, so when I was informed by the booking clerk that I had signed up to these terms and conditions, it didn't occur to me that customer loyalty meant so little if last minute changes had to be made.

At the time I was unable to think rationally about future travel due to the urgency of the illness and uncertainty about its course.

I did move the booking, but it was half-hearted and emotionally guided.

At the suggestion of this second booking clerk I wrote a letter of comment rather than complaint, admittedly out of emotional frustration at a situation I would rather not be in.

I was totally unprepared for the response I received from Red Funnel customer services; a human, compassionate and considered offer of understanding and support that actually reduced me to tears.

An exceptional individual who not only listened, but genuinely seemed to care about my situation.

I work in healthcare and am committed to the wellbeing and care of my patients.

I was treated as I hope my patients feel I treat them, as an individual who finds themself in an unpleasant and upsetting situation.

Thank you Red Funnel, you are assured of my ongoing gratitude and appreciation and many more journeys to and from the Island.

PS: the operation and recovery has all been remarkably successful!