Deportation battle winner says thank you to Portsmouth

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SHE was able to fulfil her partner’s last wish – to look after him and stay by his side until the very end.

Now Molly Cooke wants to say thank you to all those who helped and supported her through her deportation battle so she could stay with Steve.

TRUE LOVE Steve and Molly Cooke

TRUE LOVE Steve and Molly Cooke

After a three-year fight, in October last year Molly was finally given consent by the Home Office to stay in the UK instead of being sent back to Zimbabwe.

The pair got married under a special licence at their home in Beck Street, Portsea, on March 19.

But Steve lost his battle to prostate cancer and died on April 2, at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Molly said: ‘Before Steve died he said to me he was so glad I was by his side.

‘He didn’t ask for any help from social services or a nurse – he wanted me to look after him.

‘And I was honoured to be able to do it.

‘He said he could not leave me anything other than his name, but that he was glad he would be able to look down and know he was able to marry me.

‘I want to say thank you to everyone that helped us both and supported us.’

Steve had moved from London to Portsmouth, after he met Molly, in 2011, when she was given asylum rights to live in the UK.

In October 2011, the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber Court for the Ministry of Justice gave Molly rights to remain in the UK.

But in November 2011, the Home Office appealed against the court’s decision successfully, which meant Molly was asked to leave. And when Steve contested this and said he was terminally-ill, he was told to follow Molly back to Zimbabwe.

She fled that country after she had been beaten and raped.

Eventually Molly, 44, was given permission to stay.

She added: ‘I want to thank the British Red Cross, although I volunteer six hours for them, they have helped me much further.

‘I want to thank the oncology, radiology and palliative care team at QA – they were so caring and kind.

‘I want to thank Portsmouth City Council for helping with housing and to my neighbours, as well as the Zimbabwe community in Portsmouth.

‘And I will be looking for work now that I can stay in the country.

‘All this time I have been Steve’s full-time carer and I am so glad I was able to.’

A funeral date is yet to be set.