Community rallies behind deportation threat gran

Winnie Birkenhead (l) who has been threatened with deportation despite living in the UK since she was five years old with her boss Amanda Balmer (r). Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Winnie Birkenhead (l) who has been threatened with deportation despite living in the UK since she was five years old with her boss Amanda Balmer (r). Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

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Friends of a Burnley gran fighting the threat of deportation are tackling the issue with a fund-raising event at Belvedere sports club.

Winnie Birkenhead (52) has been told by the Home Office she must prove she is British to rubber stamp her indefinite leave to remain, despite the fact she has lived in Burnley for 48 years.

Friends have been brilliant. I’m grateful for the support from people

Winnie Birkenhead

Winnie, who is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer, has been gathering evidence to support her application but faces an anxious wait until she receives the green light to stay.

In the intervening period, Winnie cannot work and is not entitled to any government financial support. The fund-raising event at the sports club between 2pm and 10pm on Sunday, November 29th is to help her cover costs of day to day living as well as the expected £3,000 needed for legal fees and documents to regularise her status as a UK resident.

Long time friend of Winnie’s, Selina Finnan, is organising the fund-raiser. She said: “The main event will see Burnley RUFC Seniors and Burnley Belvedere FC compete in a six-a-side football match and game of touch rugby.

“The winners will receive a trophy. We’re also hoping to have other activities such as an indoor bouncy castle and face-painting for children but these are still to be confirmed.

“If anyone would like to donate a prize for the raffle taking place it would be very much appreciated.”

Winnie said: “It’s just a waiting game now. I’ve sent off for tax, child benefit, education and hospital records but they required photo identification which has delayed that a little. Once I have those it will be a case of sending in the application through my solicitor.

“Friends have been brilliant. I’m grateful for the support from people.”

Anybody wishing to donate raffle prizes can email Selina at selinasowerby@hotmail.co.uk

More: Thousands back gran in immigration battle