Youngsters plead with Home Secretary for Portas

Youngsters plead with Home Secretary for Portas

PortasChildren from Lady Hastings School in Collingham are writing letters to the Home Secretary this week, pleading with her to keep their caretaker Portas Ongondo in the UK.

After losing two appeals to retain his right to stay in the country, Mr Ongondo is now set to return to Kenya, leaving behind his three sons Emmanuel, Gerald, and Sylvester.

Youngsters from the primary school where he worked after coming to the UK in 2006 have pulled together to support Mr Ongondo and have written to the Home Secretary Theresa May in a desperate bid urging her to reconsider.

Siobhan Riley’s son Oliver, aged eight, is one of the many children deciding to write a letter after it was announced in a school assembly that Mr Ongondo would not return to his job at the school.

Siobhan said: “It has been difficult for the children to comprehend a father being taken away from his three children, and I think this is why they have been so supportive.

“This was reflected in the school leaver’s assembly where all of the children were very emotional at the prospect of never seeing Portas again.

“Speaking as a mother of two I cannot begin to consider the prospect of being sent away from my children for an indefinite period of time knowing that due to the economic climate of where I am being sent it might be impossible to get back to see them.

“This is a horrifying prospect for any parent and one that nobody should be faced with. My heart goes out to Portas as I know how much he cares for his children and wants to be there for them emotionally and financially.”

Mr Ongondo’s right to stay in the UK was revoked after his 34-year marriage broke down, as it depended on the continuation of this relationship.

The 55-year-old told the Wetherby News previously that he had no choice in the end but to return to his home country where he will try to submit another application and rejoin his family in the UK.

Parents and campaigners, including Elmet and Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke, fought hard to support Mr Ongondo and the petition they started, which has more than 1,000 signatures, continues to gain support.

His supporters have now launched a fundraising campaign to help Mr Ongondo fund his journey home and settle in once he arrives.

l To contribute, hand in donations in sealed envelopes marked ‘Portas Ongondo Appeal’ to the reception at Lady Hastings School.