Ghanaian told he is not British after 42 years in UK gets £30,000 to support his legal fight

Nelson Shardey, who came to the UK from Ghana at the age of 28 on a student visa, discovered in 2019 that he did not have British citizenship and would have to apply for the 10-year route to settlement.

A retired 74-year-old Ghanaian newsagent who has lived in the UK for nearly 50 years said “tears were running” from his eyes after strangers fundraised more than £30,000 to support his legal fight to remain in the country.

Nelson Shardey, who has been described as a Merseyside “local legend”, is pursuing a legal challenge against the Home Office after he was refused indefinite leave to remain, despite living and working in the UK since 1977.

Shardey, who came to the UK from Ghana at the age of 28 on a student visa, discovered in 2019 that he did not have British citizenship and would have to apply for the 10-year route to settlement.

He was granted limited leave to remain in 2019 but this was later revoked after he made a mistake in an application in 2022, which has left him without legal status in the UK and no access to public funds or pension credits.

The 74-year-old said he was “amazed” and “grateful” after more than £30,000 had been crowdfunded to pay for his legal challenge, adding: “I was not expecting that so I would like to thank everybody who has donated towards this fight we have taken on. We are fighting for justice and all those who are affected should also have the belief that justice will be done.”

The legal fight against the Home Office will challenge the department’s decision to refuse Shardey indefinite leave to remain and the need for the 10-year probationary period, which would mean he would not be eligible for the status until at least the age of 84.

The fundraiser was set up to support his family, who face paying thousands of pounds in fees if they lose their legal challenge.

Since the crowdfunding campaign was set up earlier this week, the family have been inundated with messages of support from friends, colleagues and strangers.

Shardey, who was awarded the Mersey Marvel award in 2007 after he saved a friend from a masked robber, is well known in his local area after he ran his shop, Nelson’s News, for more than 30 years.

One message on the fundraiser read: “Nelson is a credit to the community, full support to the whole family.”

Shardey said the messages had left him with tears “running from my eyes, how some of the people were saying marvellous things”. He added his son, Jacob, “keeps showing me where we have reached and I said: ‘Oh my lord, what an achievement.’”

His son Aaron, 30, admitted he felt “terrified” before the launch of the campaign but has been left “overwhelmed”.

“The energy was so contagious,” he said. “That energy gave me, Jacob and Dad the strength to carry on.”

Jacob, 26, said the fundraiser had been “so uplifting”, adding: “To know there’s that many people backing my dad and we’re not alone in this, is just amazing.”

If Shardey’s legal challenge is successful, the family said they will donate the money raised to Wirral Foodbank and the Boaz Trust, an immigration charity that supports asylum seekers who have become homeless.

The Home Office declined to comment on Shardey’s case because of the unresolved legal proceedings.


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