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Powys grandmother 'petrified' after being told she could be deported

Carolyn Hirst faces deportation to South Africa

A family are appealing after their 79-year-old mother was told she must leave Wales or face deportation.

Carolyn Hirst, who is a South African national, has been married to he British husband, Michael, for 44 years.

The pair had been living in Durban, South Africa but moved to Powys to live with their daughter, Nikki, following a violent robbery at their home.

However, despite being married to a British man and her daughter being a British passport holder too, Mrs Hirst's application for indefinite leave to remain was turned down by the Home Office.

Not for one moment did we think it would come back rejected because of her age, the fact she comes from a British family. Why can't she spend the rest of her life in the country with her family?

– Nikki Blandin De Chalain
Mrs Hirst's family said they are shocked by the Home Office decision.

Mrs Hirst and her husband were woken by thieves and held at gunpoint for 12 hours in their home in South Africa. During the ordeal, Mr Hirst was stabbed in the leg with a screwdriver.

Mrs Blandin De Chalain says her mother is "petrified, tearful and emotional." The prospect of returning to South Africa has left her so sick with worry that she is struggling to sleep and has been prescribed sleeping pills.

She's been told to go back to a country where she was brutally attacked with nothing to her name. The Home Office even suggested we should all go back with her even though we're British nationals. I don't think she would cope, it would be the end of her life. She will be turning 80 in a couple of months time and I want them to be in the UK so I can look after her.

– Nikki Blandin De Chalain
Nikki Blandin De Chalain says her mother would not survive going back to South Africa

Mrs Hirst's family are appealing the Home Office's decision and her case has received letters of support from Chris Davies MP and Kirsty Williams AM, who wrote: "To deport her now would be a cruel and unjustified action unworthy of a country that would like to see itself as civilised."

Mrs Blandin De Chalain has also started an online petition in support of her mother.

A Home Office spokesman said: "In light of further information received, we have contacted the family to advise them that we will reconsider Mrs Hirst’s application.

"We will take into account any additional evidence that is submitted."