Singer deported after visa struggle

Gwen Roomes has been deported.
Gwen Roomes has been deported.
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CITY centre singer Gwendolyn Roomes has been deported to Jamaica, despite a huge swell of support from Sheffield residents.

Gwen, aged 59, who is renowned for singing hymns in the city, was put onto a flight at Gatwick at 12.15pm yesterday.

Her application to stay in the UK – where two of her children and three grandchildren live – was rejected by the Home Office less than an hour before her flight departed.

Gwen was due to land in the Jamaican capital Kingston last night, where a niece was due to pick her up.

Her son Samuel, 27, who continues to live in Sheffield, said: “She has no money with her, nothing, just a small bag of clothes.

“She has been completely humiliated and treated like a real criminal. It is appalling. I just pray to God something better awaits her in Jamaica. But she will find it difficult to work because she has passed the Jamaican age of retirement.”

More than 2,500 people joined a Free The Singing Lady group on Facebook since The Star broke news of the UKBA’s threat of deportation earlier this week.

And Star reader Julie Sargeant wrote on The Star’s own Facebook page: “I think this is a great loss to the city, it will be a duller city without her.”

Gwen arrived in Sheffield in 2002, when she was invited by the Government to help plug a gap in teaching staff as part of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme.

But her visa has expired and repeated applications to stay have been rejected.