Ailing 92-year-old widow facing forced removal from UK to South Africa

Myrtle Cothill

Home Office has ordered removal from the UK of a frail 92-year-old widow to her native South Africa.

Myrtle Cothill has been living with Mary Wills, her British 66-year-old daughter who is also a qualified carer, since her arrival in the UK in February 2014.

Jan Doerfel, the old lady’s barrister has set up the petition on her behalf calling on the Home Office and the Government to grant Myrtle leave to remain in the UK to live out what days she has left under the care of her daughter.

Mary Wills (left) with her mother Myrtle Cothill (right)
Mary Wills (left) with her mother Myrtle Cothill (right)

In the petition Doerfel says that Myrtle suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and macular degeneration causing sight loss.

She cannot walk unaided, has a chronic cough, poor vision, is hard of hearing and is experiencing increasing confusion.

Myrtle is unable to care or cook for herself and relies on her daughter Mary for emotional and physical support: Mary helps her mother with her personal care, housework, cooking and shopping.

Yet this old woman is just about to be removed by the Home Office to a country where she has nobody to look after her and nowhere to stay.

The Home Office has refused Myrtle leave to remain in the UK and is expecting the 92-year-old to return to South Africa on her own.

“My mother just cannot live on her own,” says Mary, “and emotionally, to her as well as for myself, it would really tear strips out of our heart and probably would kill my mother (and maybe myself as well).”

Unfortunately on 18th February 2016 the Home Office issued Removal Directions to fly Myrtle back to South Africa on Virgin Atlantic on 23rd February 2016.

Here’s what you can to help Myrtle.
Click here to sign and share the petition

– Write to Home Secretary Theresa May MP (example letter below) at [email protected]

– Write to your MP by clicking here

– Urgently help Myrtle challenge her removal by supporting her legal fund at – every donation (however small) is vital!

Example email to Theresa May:

Dear Ms May

You will be aware of the petition to save Myrtle Cothill from being removed from the UK:

You will have seen Myrtle Cothill’s personal apology made to you in a television interview with RT News and appeal to you for compassion and mercy.

You now plan to remove her on Tuesday 23 February 2016, despite her age, circumstances, frail health and the current public outcry standing at over 51,500 and counting who support her to remain with and under the care of her British citizen daughter.

Please can you exercise your discretion and allow Myrtle to spend whatever remaining time she has left with her daughter and not with constant fear of removal.

Yours sincerely


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