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'A huge weight has been lifted': Shrewsbury's couple’s joy after battle to stay in UK

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | News | Published: | Last Updated:

A couple form Shrewsbury will finally be able to book their dream honeymoon after a stressful two-year deportation battle.

Grahame and Pauline are celebrating after being given the good news

Jamaican-born Pauline Taylor-French, who lives in the county town, has been granted leave to remain from the Home Office.

It has been an emotional two years for the 44-year-old who has lived legally in the UK for more than 17 years.

In 2017 she was forced to cancel her wedding to Shropshire Council planner Grahame French after being detained by immigration officials for 24 days and threatened with deportation.

Bail was granted and the couple, who had been together for two years, were given permission to marry.

But Mr French launched a legal battle and petition, which has now been signed more than 100,000 times, to get a leave to remain for his wife.

Pauline has now been granted 30 months in the UK which will allow them to apply for an indefinite leave to remain, which Mr French is confident will be given.

"We have won our battle for now," Mr French said. "There are still mountains ahead but we can at last pause and admire the view a bit. For starters, we can finally book that foreign honeymoon which we have dreamed of.

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"They took Pauline's passport off her six years ago so we weren't able to book our dream holiday. But after 18 months of waiting, we can finally go away.

"We're thinking about going to the Italian Lakes but there are so many places on our list. I can't wait to show her this wonderful continent."

Mr French said it has been difficult two years which has had serious health implications for the pair.

"We have always been looking over our shoulders and worrying," he said.

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"I've had acute stress syndrome and high blood pressure. Sadly that won't just go away but it does feel like a huge weight has been lifted.

"It feels like this is the first day of the rest of our lives. There will be a few more skirmishes ahead I'm sure, but it is only a matter of time before we get a permanent stay for her."

Mr French also thanked the public for their support, as well as media outlets, Unison and campaigning organisation 38 Degrees.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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