THE FAMILY of an 82-year-old former Warwick Hospital trainee nurse are fighting for her right to visit them after she was stripped of her British passport in the wake of the Windrush scandal.
Iciline Brown and husband Gersham arrived in Leamington in 1955 where they settled on Clarendon Avenue and had four children, Freddie, Noel, Monica and Phillip.
They were 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.
Despite their rough start in the town, where they said they were often targets of racist abuse and even spat at, the family made Leamington their home.
Gersham took on the role of a builder before eventually becoming a Warwick district councillor, while wife 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– retired to Jamaica but has twice been denied a visa to visit her family after she discovered her British passport was no longer valid.
The Windrush scandal has led to claims people from Commonwealth countries who set up here between 1948 and 1971 had been threatened with deportation if they could not prove exactly how long they had been in the UK.
But for many the only proof were “landing cards” reportedly destroyed by the Home Office in 2010.
Daughter Monica Brown, who lives in Warwick Gates, said: “Our positive, productive family of British citizens now find ourselves at the sharp end of government policies which have seen law abiding British citizens of the Windrush generation denied citizenship, imprisoned, deported and denied re entry to the UK under the pretext that they are not British citizens.
“We are struggling to get a definitive answer from the passport office about the location of mum’s British passport records.
“Mum has also been denied a UK visa twice and is unable to see her family, who are all living in the UK as British citizens.
“We are all fighting for her to regain her British citizenship which has been stripped at the whim of this government policy.”
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western is supporting the family’s fight.
He said: “This area is enriched by its multiculturalism and its social diversity so the news that some in our community should have been the victims of the Home Office’s policy will disturb many.
“That this country should be behaving in such a way to its own people worried me so much. Indeed, the concern reaches beyond the ‘Windrush generation’ to those folk that arrived from other corners of the globe and, legitimately, have made their homes here.”
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.
She said: “These people worked here for decades. In many cases they helped establish the NHS. They paid their taxes, enriched our culture. They feel British in all but legal status and this should never have been allowed to happen.”