'My Glastonbury refund fight after cancer diagnosis'

Natalie Hill at a previous festival
Natalie Hill was looking forward to her first Glastonbury since having a baby [Natalie Hill]

A woman who missed Glastonbury while recovering from skin cancer surgery has called the festival organisers "disingenuous" as she faces a fight for a refund.

Natalie Hill, from Lewisham in south-east London, was excited to get a ticket for her first festival with friends since the pandemic and giving birth to her daughter.

But the 36-year-old's dreams turned to despair when a mole on her leg turned out to be cancerous and needed to be removed.

After getting the all-clear on the day she was supposed to see her favourite acts live on stage, Ms Hill told the BBC she was refused a £360 refund by organisers. Glastonbury Festival has been asked for comment.

Huge crowd watches Coldplay's performance at Glastonbury
Ms Hill said she had been very excited about the prospect of returning to the festival [PA Media]

"I've been to Glastonbury before with friends five years ago, and then since then, I've had Covid, and then I had a baby," Ms Hill said.

"This was the first year I felt like I could do it again. My husband was going to stay at home with my daughter and I could go with friends.

"I was very excited about seeing Coldplay and Shania Twain, as a child of the 90s. That was a big win."

Meanwhile, Ms Hill had noticed changes in a mole on her leg. Within two weeks of referral to a dermatologist, she was told it was a melanoma and she needed surgery to check if it had spread.

At that point the last thing on her mind was getting a refund, and she ended up passing the festival's deadline.

"I just emailed them and said, 'Unfortunately, I've been diagnosed with skin cancer, it's on my leg, I'm going to have surgery. I won't be able to walk. So I'm not going to be able to attend'," Ms Hill said.

"I asked if it could be rolled on to another year, or if I could get the money back."

However, Natalie's request was refused, with a confusing caveat added.

"Depending on if they hit their fundraising targets for their charity partners, I would be considered for a refund kind of after the fact that they've consolidated how much money they made.

"I just thought it was a bit disingenuous to the sort of the really kind of positive, fun, happy, sort of community vibe that Glastonbury gives.

"If it had been a big corporate company, but it's a family-run... harmonious sort of business model."

Natalie at a previous Glastonbury
She still hopes to return to Glastonbury one day [Natalie Hill]

Fortunately, further tests confirmed Ms Hill's cancer had not spread. But she now faces a fight to get her money back.

"I got the test results on Thursday, actually the first day where I was meant to be at Glastonbury, to say that the cancer hasn't spread.

"Although I'll need follow-up treatment and follow-up appointments, it hasn't spread, so I won't need any kind of additional treatment in the short term."

She said she still hoped to return to Glastonbury one day, but "actively avoided watching any of the coverage" this year.

"It just reminds me of why I'm not there and that this horrible thing has happened in our family," she said.

Ms Hill added a plea to the organisers: "Please can you just transfer my ticket to next time, because I would really like to come, because it's a wonderful festival.

"At least show some sort of compassion for individual circumstance."

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