Mary's fight gets top-level backing
HER mother's ashes are scattered along Pinmill and her first memory is of her childhood home in Scott Road, Ipswich.When you listen to her voice spilling over with memories of the county and sprinkled liberally with a gentle Suffolk lilt, it is surely impossible to deny that Mary Martin is a Suffolk girl through and through.
By Victoria Knowles
HER mother's ashes are scattered along Pinmill and her first memory is of her childhood home in Scott Road, Ipswich.
When you listen to her voice spilling over with memories of the county and sprinkled liberally with a gentle Suffolk lilt, it is surely impossible to deny that Mary Martin is a Suffolk girl through and through.
Now she's got more high-profile backing in her battle to stay here – the shadow Home Secretary is tabling questions about her case in the House of Commons.
And it's made national news – television and radio programmes have covered the story bringing it to the attention of the whole nation.
She may have been born in America but Miss Martin laughed when it was suggested she could remember anything about the country the government is trying to send her back to.
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"It means nothing to me and is just a foreign land. I left when I was only two and I have no memories about it what so ever and I have no desire to go there," she said.
Since she received notice of her deportation on Friday Miss Martin said she has been in a state of shock at the thought of leaving the place she has called home for so long.
"I just collapsed when I read the letter and was sobbing for days. There is nowhere like Suffolk, what more can someone want?
"The scenery is beautiful and the people are friendly and more importantly my life, my family and my friends are here," she said.
Her family have been rallying round since the devastating news and Miss Martin's neice, Claire Marcu said everyone was fighting hard to make the government see sense.
"She is English - she is not American, except by birth. She knows nothing about America and if they put her there tomorrow she will have nowhere to stay and will know no-one in the country.
"Illegal immigrants who arrive here are treated better than the British government is treating her - a woman who has been to school here, worked here, paid her taxes and loves this country."
"We are all so worried and we are all searching so hard for something which could prove she has been in the country long enough," she said.
"We are all willing to stand up and say that she has lived here because we know she has been with us all these years and is telling the truth," she said.
Mary grew up in Ipswich and remembered fondly her early days which seem a million miles from her birth place in Baltimore, Maryland.
"My first memory is of living in Scott Road, on the Gainsborough Estate. We lived opposite a dump and every evening we used to sit and wait for someone to throw stuff on it.
"My mother was given the house by the council but it had no furniture so we used to wait to see what was dumped.
"One night there was a head board then the next the bottom of a bed so we just tied it all together.
"I can also remember my first day at Robeck School and taking my shoes off and hiding them in a hedge. All the hedges looked the same and it took my mum about two days to find those shoes," she laughed.
Family means everything to Mary and the thought of being taken away from that is almost unbearable for her.
"My mother's ashes are scattered at Pinmill and every month I go walking along there and talk to her, I just hope they don't take that away from me.
"The birth of my children, their marriages and other important family events have all happened here in Suffolk.
"I just want them to give me my stamp and leave me alone. They have persecuted my for a year and a half and I just want to get on with my life now," she added angrily.