"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Petition: My name is Paul, my fiancee's name is Cate, this is our story

Please sign and share. As Paul asked at the end of the petition, the story is reproduced in full below.

 “In my house amidst the ruins, missing roof, no forks or spoons…”


'I am known on Facebook as Editorial Spark, formerly a successful Alternative DJ, also an established author, conservation entrepreneur, humanitarian and I suffer from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

'My faith in people’s ability ‘to do the right thing’ has taken quite a battering in recent years. In trying to fight back from a crippling, debilitating and very personal illness I have decided not to hide but instead share my story and, when my mind allows, post on Facebook the events as life unfolds in the hope others will do likewise in the hope that one day all discrimination might be a thing of the past.

'No one is perfect, far from it, we are all different and that is the uniqueness that shapes us and inspires us to become our dreams and aspirations. There are so many people in this world who have their creativity, or uniqueness, or genuine belief, or open-hearted trust, or hard work, or determination to make a difference simply crushed by those who would take advantage and twist it like a sharp blade until you bleed inside.

'But when the people you have empowered and trusted to represent you take away your fundamental right to be with the one you love at the time you most desperately need their support and care then that is not fair or lawful. Underneath the colour of our skin and apart from our country of origin we are born equal and should all be entitled to have faith that human rights will prevail.

'We have the same beliefs, passions, desires, hopes and aspirations, we love, we laugh, we have hopes and dreams, we have our individual talents and weaknesses, we are kind and caring, we bleed and shed tears, we feel pain and show emotion. In each other’s eyes two people in love see only that the soul is beautiful on the inside, yet we suffer from this impossible financial restraint and it is a sad reflection that it is not based on merit or ability or truth or honesty or integrity or desire for humanity but a rule that only favours the wealthy and penalizes the poor.

'When such discrimination impacts even more on our lives it is when we are seriously ill or face the challenges of unseen disability then we so easily lose our resilience to fight on, to bounce back and challenge the odds, and our greatest struggle is within ourselves as we battle to cope with and understand the question WHY?

'I was a highly educated and qualified person, a published author, an award winning alternative DJ, successful businessman and respected specialist in my field of expertise prior to my ‘illness’. I had my own home, a self-made enterprise with ten years of experience, three books written and a passion for working on stage only surpassed by that of my love for my fiancee` and wife to be, Catherine.

'I am simply ‘human’ with individual weaknesses and strengths; I made mistakes, wrong decisions and poor choices throughout life as much as I did the right thing also; I made no apology for being myself and follow that alternative lifestyle, carving out my own path believing in everyone’s right to a quality of life and the ability to make change.

'My determination was to truly ‘make a difference’ and to find true love with an equal in all respects.

'In earlier years I buried the emotional turmoil arising from life’s great sadness’s, the loss of my father, also of a good personal friend who died so young, and the intensely crippling pressures arising from ungoverned financial services during the difficult years for small business. However it was in the recent years of 2010-11 when I witnessed the live coverage of the full horrors of the great famine that hit the Horn of Africa claiming tens of thousands of lives I was compelled to take more positive action to help.

' I committed my business to a nine month public awareness campaign which raised 30 tonnes of food, clothing, medical and other equipment. With the invaluable help of the British Army and a UK Children’s Charity, I then undertook a journey of exploration to Northern Kenya one of the hardest hit regions. It was a harrowing emotional time but during these many visits to Kenya we were able to establish long term feeding programs for the Street Children, develop sustainable green farming practices and liaise with all the local authorities towards distribution of aid; we even managed to introduce a sports program for the children.

' I sacrificed my business to fund the expedition because I felt compelled to try and do something positive in a crisis beyond imaginable comprehension where many were suffering in appalling conditions of squalor. At this time nearly 30,000 children a month were dying through lack of basic needs.

' I will never forget the camaraderie, commitment and endeavors of the British Army (BATUK) who supported us in the projects and worked alongside us during our initiatives, providing manpower, transportation and the invaluable backing of their senior command. We even had governmental support from the Kenyan Ministry of Environment where i had the privilege to meet with the late Hon John Michuki's team. It was a privilege to present our proposals and we believed our extensive and unique knowledge of conservation linking to sustainable food practices could help many of those living in poverty to develop self-sustainability by developing community projects.

' It was during these early days I first met Catherine, it was a true case of ‘love at first sight’, the first time we ever saw each other, our eyes made contact, we smiled and something unwritten or un-explainable passed between us that we knew was a mutual and undeniable attraction. As luck would have it Catherine was working for a UK couple who also owned a British business that had been supplying produce to my own enterprise therefore we soon became acquainted and in those first months Cate and I became good friends, although circumstances beyond our control at that time prevented anything further developing.

'As it finally turned out, each thought the other was married or had a partner and therefore would not be available therefore we both choose not to follow the impulse of our hearts until much later.

'Cate also worked as a volunteer for several charities including the Nanyuki Childrens Charitable Trust, Red Cross and our own Ndege Wa Pori Foundation. It was during these times we became closer until one day when finally we plucked up the courage to talk openly. We were stunned to both discover that each of us were single and that the previous 15 months of becoming acquainted had merely set in place an incredible foundation of trust, respect, admiration and profound love.

' Within a matter of months we were engaged, hosting a small celebration at the local Kongoni Camp with friends Bill and Carolyn from the British Charity. Both of our families gave us their blessing and we moved in together shortly afterwards in a small rented National Housing compound close to the British Army base.

'During the early days we kept a photographic log of our experiences in Kenya; to date we have collected over 800 photos of tour experiences on our public Facebook account www.facebook.com/NdegeWaPori

'I will never forget those early days; it’s so hard to describe them, but the pictures are engraved in my memory. The place was ancient, small, damp, no heating, hot water, or sustainable electricity, cooking only on a camping gas stove and bitterly cold at nights but we endured it with laughter, determination and a simple happiness that we were together. Security was a nightmare as it was in a very bad part of town and we would often lay awake at night in fear of our lives, especially during those repetitive blackouts. It was the time of the terrorist attacks in Kenya and at the time our charity was also being targeted by a corrupt group of local people who were attempting to extort funds from us.

'Eventually the pressures of their continual harassment, intimidation, theft and extortion became too much, we were forced to move home and subsequently my own health deteriorated to such a point that I was forced to travel home to seek medical help. At that time Catherine and I thought it would be just a simple matter of time before she could travel to the UK and re-join me as the current changes to immigration legislation had not yet been implemented.

'Catherine was forced to return to live with her family because of the threat to her life from those involved in the corruption, whilst the ‘gang’ also seized all of our property, assets, belongings and did whatever needed to prevent our access to our own funds, income and projects. We were so shocked to see that the local authorities stood by and let it happen without doing anything to assist us or stop the crimes, happy to accept the offer of bribes, or promises of a share of the assets; often they appearing to assist the criminals in their actions.

'It was a week before Christmas 2012 when I flew home, but the last thing I did at our Kenyan home was to decorate the rooms with tinsel and put up a Christmas Tree so that Cate would not feel abandoned at such a difficult time. I look back now at those memories with a smile at the times we shared, hysterically funny moments such as when we forced to light an open fire to keep warm only to find the chimney blocked by a birds nest and the house soon filling with smoke; it took us days to get rid of the smell.

'It was those early days that built the incredible foundation we now share.

'Following my return to the UK I became seriously ill, being diagnosed with severe PTSD and depression, unable to leave my home or cope with any public interaction and without the ability to seek the professional help I really needed. In those emotional and traumatic times it was only the daily communications by texts and nightly phone calls to each other that kept me alive.

'We lost many months trying to gain a visa through the usual channels because of the deliberate inaction's of a local Kenyan advocate whom we had trusted but whom lied to us and abused that trust. The UK Government changes came into effect soon after.

'For months my family here rallied to support our cause, raising funds to help Catherine pay her way with rent and to buy basic food necessities. Meanwhile Cate studied hard for the newly required ILTS examinations which were to be held at the offices of the British High Commission later in 2013. These long months apart were the hardest, loneliest and most desperate we had ever experienced; our love was unbreakable, the foundations strong, deep and true, but the pain of being apart was indescribable.

'In the meantime my own health deteriorated due to the effects of the PTSD, I became suicidal and struggled to cope with the illness, fearing not only for my sanity, but Cate's personal safety and the terrible anxiety of us being kept apart at the time we most needed each other. Eventually I reached a point where I could no longer cope and my case was referred to the NHS Crisis Care team who have since done a fantastic job in giving me the support I need to survive each day until my fiancee` is back with me.

'I lost count of the many letters I wrote to the Prime Minister, The Foreign & Commonwealth office, MP’s and other departments during those times, often without reply.

'Cate passed all of her examinations with flying colours back in November 2013 and we were so hopeful of being re-united for Christmas. The UK visa and Immigration Office had written back to me to let me know that I would be entitled to apply for a visa for Cate if I could provide evidence of my receipt of disability living allowance. Unfortunately this allowance had been scrapped by the government in favor of the new PIP award.

'Whilst I am in receipt of the highest tier support group ESA the visa office would not accept this as evidence enough, not even with all of my supporting medical evidence, accompanied by all of the letters of invitation, proof of relationship and all other criteria being met. Now that the government had already scrapped all of the disability benefits accepted by the UK Visa and Immigration it became an impossibility to achieve the requirement until their long term changes come into effect. However it was stipulated that an application would be accepted if I could produce evidence of the new PIP benefit which has replaced the former Disability Living Allowance.

'It was a year ago I was first able to make contact with the DWP. Due to the restrictions of my illness, and only with the support of DIAL and the Disability Advice Services was I able to complete and apply for the PIP and other benefits. Since that first date I am still waiting to hear about my PIP application; I understand the extensive changes to the system means there is a 12-15 month delay in processing application during which time anyone with a disability is expected to survive without disability payments.

'I survived only by selling personal effects and the incredible good will of my immediate family and friends, mostly I was living on as little as £2 a day with one basic meal. In the meantime the backdated claim for my benefits from April-Sept 2013 has now been ‘lost’ and my request for housing benefit support appears to have likewise vanished without trace. I have been forced to use up all my savings through lack of benefits I was entitled to, had to give up my home of ten years because of the extreme pressures from the mortgage lenders, and fight continuously against discriminatory treatment of my condition without benefit of legal aid.

'I know during these impossible times I owe my life to the love I share with Cate.

' Catherine and I have now been kept apart for sixteen months.

'In our bedroom, next to her photographs stands her favourite giant Teddy Bear (a gift from mum) sitting next to a pile of her Christmas presents from family and friends, still waiting to be opened; Christmas wasn't celebrated in this home last year and will not be until the day my Cate arrives home.

'We were due to be married in May 2014 on the day of my mums birthday; my precious mother is 86 years old now and desperate to see Cate, give her personal blessing, enjoy our wedding and share our happiness before it is too late. Cate is my whole life, I have no wish to live without her and many has been the time I would have taken my own life had she not been there to stand by my side with her spiritual strength and commitment.

'Thanks to my family I now have a modest but suitable rented flat close to amenities in which Cate and I can live our lives happily together, and we are desperate to continue the incredible journey we began in Kenya in those early days.

'Catherine is an intelligent, educated, hard working woman with good qualifications, excellent references and with her by my side we see only happiness and success together. We love each other more than life itself. We are entitled to a quality of family life, to be together, to share and enjoy our love, our lives, our family unity and our incredible bond.

'And so I ask the Government, The Prime Minister, The Deputy Prime Minister, The honourable members of The House of Commons, The House of Lords and the Home Secretary Theresa May;  How is it legal to deprive two people of their right to be together, to get married and to share their lives?

'Who has the right to decide that two people who love each other and are totally committed to each other cannot be together because they income is deemed unacceptable when it is below £18,600pa.

'How can disabled people get proper, fair and reasonable representation of their rights when the benefits system put in place is in total disarray and denies them that opportunity?

'Who has appointed The Home Secretary Theresa May as judge and jury in regard to what a person must earn to be able to live in total disregard of human rights, equality and the real ‘working class’ Britain.

'I would happily challenge the Right Honourable Theresa May to travel to try living for one month in Laikipia, Kenya, where the average wage is £50 a month; where Catherine and I survived together because we loved each other and accepted compromise and learned the true value of survival.

'Every night I re-live the nightmares of what occurred in Kenya, Every day I struggle with the reality of the emotional extremes of my ‘disability’. Every second I pray to God to grant us the opportunity to be together. I still have no comprehension of ‘normal life’ only of the diminished fire inside me that still burns and helps me to embrace each day with a little hope that in time I will become the person once more that I once was

I hope for justice, I hope for honesty,

I hope for the revelation of truth,

I hope for a ‘normal’ life and I dream of a day.

I hope that the thoughts become reality.

Thank you for reading my story, please show your support and feel free to share this if you wish.



  1. Thank you so much Brit Cits for your support and for sharing our story. It is only hopes and dreams that keep us alive. I hope our story will help encourage others to speak out and also offer strength to those who suffer like us in knowing that we are all no longer alone. In speaking out we become stronger and our momentum will create such a voice that this arrogant discrimination must eventually crumple and fall.

  2. Thank you for this Paul - it must have been so hard to write - you express the horror of separation extremely well - I feel very much that life is a shadow of what it was or was it could have been without my partner and the father of my child by my side - I mean, we can't even see each other, it's unbearable. I too am now suffering depression and am on medication - for a while I was a bit of a high-flyer, travelling, speaking several languages and recently became a Cambridge graduate. This reality though, of being deemed 'unworthy' of family entitlements has affected me deeply - I feel like a stranger in my own world most of the time and slowly but surely I feel surrounded by nothing but silence. I have a baby and of course, this keeps me going as well as the fantasy life that I lead in which my partner is with me and we are talking, laughing, loving and living all the time; In the supermarket, I ask him what he wants for dinner. In the park, we stroll, holding hands and laugh as we watch our son playing. Our wedding day is the movie I watch in my head when I go to bed at night.

    Thanks for sharing Paul, you've helped me today x

  3. Paul. Your story is as heart-wrenching as it is familiar. How sad that all the good you have done for the world has not been returned to you. I am faced with a very similar situation except that my own disease is cancer. I had been in the process of rebuilding my life after an earlier battle when I met Seusie through an online site back in 2012. I was on full-disability at the time however our relationship was still in its early days and I had no means of support at that time (I was living at home and being cared for by my elderly parents) so I did not apply for a visa for her to come to the UK. Later when I recovered from this first battle with cancer I believed that I would quickly be able to find a job with enough income to qualify for a spousal visa for the love of my life but while I have come close I have not quite managed it. Now my cancer is back and I will be starting chemo again at the end of the month. I doubt if I will ever reach the income level as I honestly feel that the cancer will claim me this time - secondary cancers are usually fatal. I feel I have let Seusie down and I feel let down by my own country and of course feel nothing but bitterness and hatred towards this government and Theresa May in particular. Good luck to everyone out there who is suffering as I am.