Singaporean granny deported from UK to Singapore has only $20 with her

Singaporean granny deported from UK to Singapore has only $20 with her
A family ripped apart: Irene Clennell was forced to leave behind her UK husband and two children after she was deported.
PHOTO: Irene Clennell

Singaporean grandmother Irene Clennell was yesterday (Feb 26) packed off on a plane at Edinburgh to be sent back to Singapore after the authorities ruled that it was illegal for her to remain in Britain, where she had lived with her husband and children for nearly 30 years.

The 52-year-old, who made international news after she was locked up in an immigration centre in recent months, told BuzzFeed News she had only £12 (about S$20) in her pocket, nobody to live with in Singapore, and no extra clothes.

Speaking on a phone provided by one of the escorting officials, she told BuzzFeed: "I don't know what I'll do when I land. I called my sister [in Singapore] and she said she can't put me up, so I just don't know. How can I stay anywhere? I don't have a wallet with me, I've got about £12 in my pocket. I don't even have my clothes, they're at home. I just have what they took from the detention centre."

Clennell reportedly breached immigration rules after spending too long out of the country while looking after her dying parents in Singapore.

She is the main carer for her sick British husband, John, and has two British sons and a British granddaughter.

Reeling in shock, John, who last saw her on Friday (Feb 24), said he was surprised by the sudden move to deport her.

He said: "She's got nothing with her; all her clothes are here. What's she supposed to do with £12? She's got no clothes, no fresh underwear and nowhere to go."

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Read also: Singaporean married to Briton faces deportation although she has lived in UK for 27 years
Irene was the main caregiver to her husband, John, who is in ill health.Photo: Irene Clennell

Irene had told the media earlier about her fear of being forced to live in Singapore without her husband and children.

She had said: "I don't have anything in Singapore. I don't have a house to go to, I don't have a job. I feel closer to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law than my family in Singapore. My parents are both dead and I only have one sister there and we're not that close."

She doesn't think she could fit into Singapore society as locals see her as a British woman. "If I go to Singapore nobody will accept me there because they see me as a British woman. I wear Western clothes and my whole culture is here," she said.

Her sister-in-law Angela told The Guardian a fellow Singaporean has made contact with the family and offered her a place to stay for two weeks, something which Irene, who was on the flight bound for her transit in Doha, was not aware of.

She told The Guardian: "It's outrageous what has happened today. I'm appalled by it especially doing it on a Sunday so you can't contact anyone to try and stop it happening. I made numerous phone calls to immigration solicitors and everywhere was closed. I feel sick about the whole situation."

Meanwhile, a Go Fund Me page to raise money for her legal fees passed £10,000.

On the page, Angela said: "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.

"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. Irene has never claimed benefits in the UK. John has worked his entire adult life. We need to fight to keep them together so he has someone to care for him, and so she can stay with her family, where her home is.Irene has nowhere to go in Singapore, both her parents have passed away - her whole life is here in Britain."

A screengrab of GoFundMe page showing the comments by supporters of Irene Clennell's case.

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