A 92-Year-Old South African Widow Faces Deportation From UK


The desire of a 92-year-old widow and pensioner, Myrtle Cothill to spend the end of her days with her daughter and only child, Mary Wills in the United Kingdom, was reportedly shattered by the Home Office who took a decision on Tuesday to oppose the wish of the elderly woman. With what seems to be a compensation token, the authorities gave the 66-year old daughter a £1,000 sum to sponsor her trip back to South Africa.

“Myrtle Cothill, who was born under the British flag in 1924, and whose father fought for Britain in the first world war, has been ordered by the Home Office to turn up at Heathrow on Tuesday for a flight to South Africa.”- The Guardian News

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Back home, the 92-year old has no other family and can only be taken care of by special homes and organizations like the red cross as advised by the authorities that oversaw the deportation process. Her daughter, Mary worried that the emotional strain from estrangement could “kill her”.


In defense of her appeal to remain in Britain, Cothill had reiterated that going home will not only affect her emotionally but also financially destabilize her, as she earns a pension of £300 a month in the UK. With that and in the company of her only family, she has a good support system that suits her age and health – she manages a heart condition, impaired hearing and the loss of one eye sight.

Cothill whose father was a UK World War I Veteran, and whose brother was World War II veteran has been in the UK since 2014, enjoying the bliss of comfort in her daughter’s care. At the expiration of her visa, Capita, under the umbrella of the Home Office, discovered her.

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Ann Widdecombe, their attorney insists that the move by the Home Office whose mission is to ensure that immigrants comply with immigration rules, was unsympathetic and “extreme” for a lady of such physical frailty. However, the Home Office countered her notion, saying that her health and physiological conditions are not exactly life threatening; the South African health facilities could effectively carry her health routines and necessities; and moreover, the Home Office alleged that both women deceptively manipulated the entry of Cothill into the UK.

The disheartened 66-year old daughter of Cothill also nurses a British husband who suffers from the Parkinson disease. This will make it difficult for her to shuttle both countries as the current situation demands.

“I came into this world fatherless. My mother worked her fingers to the bone to educate me and to build a life for me. Why can’t I take care of her in her old age, like she did for me when I was a child? She is not a threat to anyone. It is just wrong to separate us.”- Mary Wills

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