Mary wins battle to stay in Suffolk
SHE can stay!Grandmother Mary Martin was preparing to crack open the champagne today after being told she will NOT be deported after all.After pressure from The Evening Star, government ministers and Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, Immigration Service officials changed their minds – and said the 55-year-old could spend the rest of her days in Suffolk.
SHE can stay!
Grandmother Mary Martin was preparing to crack open the champagne today after being told she will NOT be deported after all.
After pressure from The Evening Star, government ministers and Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer, Immigration Service officials changed their minds – and said the 55-year-old could spend the rest of her days in Suffolk.
Immediately after hearing the news, Miss Martin, of Trimley St Mary, thanked the Star – which exclusively reported her story in last night's editions – and our readers for their magnificent help, encouragement and support.
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"I want to jump for joy but I haven't got the energy after all I have been through over these past few days," said Miss Martin, of Carriage Close.
"It is such absolutely fantastic news – I can hardly believe everything is going to be all right. I can stay!
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"All I want now is that official piece of paper and that stamp in my hand so I never have to worry again.
"And I want is to go to bed and sleep, though I am now just too excited.
"I really want to thank the Evening Star for helping me and writing my story. Thank you so much."
Her partner Ed Harrod said: "It is fantastic and we are so relieved. We All the deportation orders have been lifted – we are just overjoyed.
"We will be cracking open a few bottles of champagne today and having a real celebration."
Mr Gummer's office, especially his personal secretary Peter Vines, has been working non-stop on the case for the past few days, putting pressure on the Home Secretary and top Civil Servants.
Earlier today that pressure paid off when it was announced by the Home Office that Miss Martin's case was being urgently reviewed by ministers.
She had faced deportation tomorrow because despite living in the UK since she was two years old, she was born in the USA and is officially an American citizen and had no right to stay here.
Miss Martin though had never been out of the country, even for a holiday abroad, since she arrived as a toddler with her English-born mum June and brother Walter after they fled the USA after her mum's marriage to USAF serviceman James Martin ended.
She had grown up in Suffolk, been to school here, raised her family and worked here, and paid taxes and National Insurance.
But while the Home Office accepted she had been here since 1949, they insisted she proved she had lived here continuously for 14 years.
Miss Martin handed over all the paperwork and documents she could find but Immigration officials were still not satisfied.
While she had paid National Insurance contributions, many of her jobs in recent years had been part-time – she works currently as a cleaner at Trimley St Mary Primary School – and these were below tax.
Doctors' records were insufficient as she had not been to see her GP every year, and because she had never had a birth certificate, she had never had a bank or building society account, using her partner's or dealing in cash.