Search

Happy Birthday for Mary - and an apology

PUBLISHED: 06:14 17 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:18 24 February 2010

GRANDMOTHER Mary Martin, nearly deported just days ago despite living in Britain for 53 years, received an apology from the Home Office on Saturday – as she celebrated her birthday.

GRANDMOTHER Mary Martin, nearly deported just days ago despite living in Britain for 53 years, received an apology from the Home Office on Saturday – as she celebrated her birthday.

Miss Martin, from Trimley St Mary, had been plunged into turmoil after being informed by the Home Office she was about to be deported.

But, after a week of rollercoaster emotions and a last minute U-turn by the Home Office, the champagne corks were popping loudly on Saturday as Miss Martin celebrated her 56th birthday.

The cleaner, of Carriage Close, threw a party for her friends and family to celebrate the milestone and her relief at being allowed to remain in the country.

"It's absolutely lovely. I'm tired but I thought I may as well have all the celebrations in one," she said.

"We cancelled the party last weekend because I had got the paperwork to say I was being deported (on Thursday) and I didn't know where I was going to be.

"But when Thursday came we phoned everybody and decided we would put the party back on again.

"We would have done lots of cooking during the week and I'm having to do it all in one day."

Miss Martin, who has three grandchildren, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She left America aged two.

She had discovered a problem with her citizenship status after her mother June died two years ago.

The Home Office said she had never been registered as a British citizen and they refused her application because it was not accepted she had lived in the UK for a substantial period.

Miss Martin produced her national insurance number, income tax details and wage slips - but she was still told she had to return to America where she had not lived since she was two.

But the Home Office later admitted it had made a mistake to refuse her application and said the decision had defied "common sense". It issued an apology to her on Saturday.

Miss Martin said she had been astounded by the support and good wishes she had received since her plight was highlighted.

"I have birthday cards from people that I don't even know and so many emails from people wishing me well," she said.

"Usually shopping takes an hour but it took three hours last night because everyone kept stopping me and hugging me."

Miss Martin said it had been a traumatic week and she was looking forward to settling down into normal life.

"I don't think it will sink in until I get that passport in my hands," she said.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times