Poets band together to support Wolverhampton grandmother threatened with deportation
A group of poets in the West Midlands are putting on a benefit gig on Thursday 14 December in support of Paulette Wilson, a 61-year-old Wolverhampton woman who had been in Britain for 50 years when she received a letter informing her that she was an illegal immigrant and was going to be removed and sent back to Jamaica.
The Guardian reported that she spent a week at Yarl’s Wood detention centre before being sent to the immigration removal centre at Heathrow, and only a last-minute intervention from her MP and a local charity prevented her forced removal out of the country. She has since been allowed to return home, but will have to report again to the Home Office.
Steve Pottinger, of Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists, said: “We live in Wolverhampton, and Paulette lives in Wolverhampton, so when we heard about her situation we decided we should do something to help. Which is how the benefit gig came about.
“It's upstairs at the Clarendon hotel in Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton, and we've eight poets from the region taking part – including Emma Purshouse, Dave Pitt, Paul Francis, Rick Sanders, and Spoz – as well as a raffle, and acoustic music from the ukulele extravaganza that is Not Quite Dead Yet. Entry will be by donation, doors are at 7.30pm, we'll start about 20 minutes after that, and we expect all the acts will be done and dusted by 10pm, so that anyone needing to dash for buses/trains/work next day can do so. For the rest of us, the bar will still be open.
“If you can't make it to the gig but would like to support Paulette, we've also created a crowdfunding page for her. You'll find that here.”
Paulette is a grandmother and former cook, who has paid national insurance contributions for 34 years. She arrived in the UK in 1968, went to primary and secondary school in Britain, raised her daughter, Natalie, here and has helped to bring up her granddaughter. She left Jamaica when she was 10 and has never returned to it since.