A FAMILY who ‘battled’ to get their elderly mother home after she was stripped of her British passport in the wake of the Windrush scandal, has thanked the Observer and community.
Iciline Brown moved to Leamington with husband Gersham as part of the ‘Windrush generation’ – named after the the first ship which docked in the UK from the Caribbean in response to post-war labour shortages.
When she retired the mum-of-four returned to Jamaica, where she was born, leaving her children and grandchildren still living in the UK.
Refusing to accept her 82-year-old mother would not be allowed to enter the country, Monica Brown turned to Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western along with the Observer, and within days had been contacted by government.
While Iciline’s British passport has not been reinstated, she will be able to come to the UK and see her family on a two-year visa.
Monica, from Warwick, said: “The very day after the publication of The Observer front page, I received calls from the British High Commission in Jamaica.
“The second Home Office official I spoke with was apologetic, respectful and he listened deeply.
“Mum thanked God for the outcome. She also thanked me and my brothers and said said how proud she was of me. That’s when I cried.
“I would like to thank neighbours and complete strangers who approached me and wept at the flagrant injustice. The children who delivered the local paper were in tears as they read the story.
“Complete strangers and others contacted me asking what they could do. I want to thank all those who supported us. The support of Matt Western was also vital.”
When Iciline moved to Leamington in 1955 the family settled on Clarendon Avenue, where they were often targets of racist abuse and even spat at.
Husband Gersham took on the role of a builder before eventually becoming a Warwick district councillor, while Iciline trained to become a nurse at Warwick Hospital, later working at Myton Hamlet children’s home – which is now the base of Myton Hospice.
Iciline – who was widowed in 1991 – retired to Jamaica but has twice been denied a visa to visit her family after she discovered her British passport was no longer valid.
Monica said the family is now deciding on whether to continue pushing to get Iciline her British passport but says she plans to continue working with other families affected by the Windrush scandal.
She said: “We fought a battle and were strategic. The war rages on for many and we expect to play a role in training others – I want to empower others caught up in this situation.”
And Mr Western also says he will support those who have been caught up in the scandal.
He said: “I am very pleased to have helped Monica and her siblings to secure a way for their mother to visit them and their families in the UK.
“I would encourage any of my constituents who are the descendants of the Windrush generation or those that came at a similar time from the Indian sub-continent to contact me if they encounter any problems.
“I also want to thank the local media for their role in highlighting this story, which contributed to the outcome.”
As news broke about the Windrush scandal former home secretary Amber Rudd apologised for any confusion and said government was working to resolve the situation.