AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD boy caught up in a deportation battle has pleaded to be allowed to stay in his adopted home of Burnley.
Yesterday The Lancashire Telegraph reported the plight of Seth Tutt, and his five-year-old sister Leigh, who were brought here by their father Justin Tutt, 29, after the sudden death of their mother.
They face the prospect of deportation in five weeks when their holiday visa runs out.
The children were left living with their grandparents in a residential home after their mother Deirdre Tutt, Justin’s wife, committed suicide in the South African town of Kimberley last May.
In desperation Mr Tutt, who lives in Briercliffe Road with his partner Clare Miles, 29, her daughter Kaitlyn, seven, and their eight-month-old son Jake, flew out to South Africa to bring them over on a three-month holiday visa.
Mr Tutt, who works in Burnley’s Walkabout bar and has lived in Burnley for five years, is trying to find a way for his children to live with him.
But he has been told that they would not be granted a permanent visa.
Seth and Leigh are attending St Mary’s RC Primary in Burnley, where their father says “they have settled in fantastically well”.
Speaking after returning home from school yesterday, Seth said: “I want to stay here with my dad and my sister. I like it here and I want us to be together.
“Both of us like the school and are starting to make friends.”
Mr Tutt is certain that the children will be put into care if they are forced to return to South Africa as living with their grandparents was a temporary measure.
He said a social worker had told him that a significant proportion of children in care in South Africa are at risk from violence or sexual exploitation.
He said: “No parent in their right mind would let their children be taken away and placed in danger.
“They are due to fly back on March 21 but I will do everything in my power to keep the children here.”
He has been offered help from Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle and MEP Sajjad Karim.
The wider community in Burnley has also been quick to offer support.
Another South African ex-pat Micky Van Rensburg, who lives on Waterloo Road, Burnley, said: “I find it hard to believe that Mr Tutt’s children will not be allowed to stay with him in this country.
“If they are sent back to South Africa they face the prospect of abuse and even death.
“I believe the authorities in this country are supposed to look after the rights of minors who face persecution in other countries.
”Mr Tutt is not a freeloader and works and pays his taxes.
“He does not claim off the state and as a parent he only wants the best for his kids."