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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Cumbrian family torn apart after husband barred from UK

A mother whose family was torn apart when her husband was barred from the UK has lodged an appeal with the backing of more than 1,000 supporters.

Barbados man banned photo
Debbie Forde Catwell and husband Robin

Debbie Forde Catwell’s family was shattered last year when her Barbadian husband Robin was forced to leave England and denied re-entry to the country.

The family last Thursday lodged an appeal against the Government’s decision. Mrs Catwell and her four children, who live in Whitehaven, have been struggling to cope since Mr Catwell’s departure. They said the main thing that has helped them get through the past five months has been the community’s support.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition as part of the appeal and many more have written letters of support.

Speaking through tears about her heartbreaking position, Mrs Catwell said that the community has been “unbelievable” with the support they had given, adding that strangers were even stopping her in the street to ask what they can do.

“The support has been tremendous. Whitehaven is a lovely town and I really don’t want to leave,” added Mrs Catwell who married her husband in 2005, after 20 years together.

The longest time the family have ever been apart is two months and Mrs Catwell said she has no choice but to take her children, Kara, 16, Kennedy, 13, Kyslie, 10, and Kristofer, seven, out of school and fly them to Barbados to see their father for four weeks.

“I am counting down the 29 days until we go,” she said. “The children haven’t seen their dad for five months and they have to see him. My daughter and 10-year-old son can’t speak to him on the phone as it upsets them so much.”

The devoted wife said that at the end of the day if the Government sticks to its decision, she will have no option but to up sticks and take her family back to Barbados which they left in 2011.

Mr Catwell, who works in Barbados to support his family, would travel to the UK to see them for two months, four times a year.

Previous laws enabled him to travel to the country as a visitor and stay with his family for up to six months at a time.

But a change in the law means he now has to show he and his wife have an annual income of £18,600 for the next two and a half years plus a further £16,000 in savings, for a visa to be approved.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

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