Fundraising drive for deported woman generates £27k

A campaign to raise money for a mother-of-two who was deported despite living in Britain for nearly 30 years is approaching £30,000.

Irene Clennell

Irene Clennell, 53, who is the main carer for her British husband John, was placed in an immigration detention centre before being deported to Singapore on Sunday.

Mrs Clennell, who lived in County Durham and has two sons and a granddaughter, reportedly had just £12 in her pocket and no change of clothes when she was removed from the country.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

In response, her family set up a Go Fund Me page to help raise legal fees for her case, as they fight what they call the “insensitive and unfair government rules”.

Sister-in-law Angela Clennell said: “We are all in a state of shock after they took Irene away. We just can’t understand why they would take a grandmother, wife and carer away from her family after 30 years.

“We will continue to fight as hard as we can to bring Irene home where she belongs and we are absolutely blown away by the generosity and kindness of everyone who has donated to the GoFundMe page and shared it with friends and family. Irene will need this money more than ever.”

Mrs Clennell arrived in the UK in 1988, but since spent periods of time back in Singapore to care for her parents before they died.

It is thought she has lost her leave to remain as a result of the Government’s spousal visa system, which requires the British partner to prove earnings of at least £18,600 and the couple being able to demonstrate long stretches of uninterrupted time living in the UK.

The Go Fund Me page, which is now on £27,460, says: “For 30 years, my sister-in-law Irene has lived in Britain after arriving here from Singapore. She has a British husband, two wonderful British children and a granddaughter she dotes upon.

“She has worked hard for those 30 years raising her family and being an important and beloved member of the local community.

“Now, because of insensitive and unfair government rules, she has been taken away to a detention centre and has been told she will be deported.

“Her husband John - my brother - is seriously ill and Irene is his sole caretaker. Without her to look after him, we’re all worried for him, and to rip apart a family after 30 years of happiness seems so unfair.”

John Coventry, from Go Fund Me, said the campaign had seen “explosive growth” as news spread.

The fundraising page can be found at