A 92-YEAR-OLD woman from Poole has been allowed to stay in the UK permanently to live out the rest of her days with her family.

Myrtle Cothill was first threatened with deportation last September and the Home Office issued a removal direction in January.

Two weeks ago she was told she would have to board a flight back to South Africa, and could be kept at a detention centre should she refuse to cooperate.

The Home Office was forced to review its decision after medical records indicated Mrs Cothill was too sick to travel or live by herself and a petition calling for her to remain in the UK was signed by over 150,000 since her possible deportation was first reported.

Now she can live with her daughter, Mary Wills at her home in Parkstone, and will be given the right to remain in the UK - news she cried at when she was first told on Friday.

“I woke up and I thought I’ve got no worrying, or fear in me,” she said. “No pains coming in my tummy. I’m free of it all. It’s too wonderful.

“I can now spend the rest of my life with my daughter. I’m very happy and I want to thank everybody that has been enquiring after me; to all those wonderful signatures, over 150,000. England has got some wonderful people!

“It’s too wonderful for words how people have treated me and been with me and supported me. It’s tremendous and I want to thank everybody for all their love and kindness shown to me.”

Mary added: “It’s been a long two-year road, especially when they booked her place on the plane and she had to get on it and go - that was dreadful. It’s been hard. We’ve been on tenterhooks all the time but our barrister, Jan, has really worked so hard to keep my mum here.”

Jan Doerfel said that while the outcome of Myrtle’s case has been wonderful, he can foresee other cases coming to light unless the government changes its position in such instances.

“What the government should be looking at now is changing the law so these cases don’t repeat themselves for other families and they allow people to look after their elderly relatives when necessary,” he said.