Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has come forward to the aid of Lucy Helen Frances Holt, a British citizen who has been living in Bangladesh for the past 57 years.
Sheikh Hasina on Thursday handed over the passport with a 15-year multiple Bangladeshi visa to Lucy, ending her long ordeal for visa renewal every year.
‘Our honourable prime minister handed over the passport with a 15-year multiple Bangladeshi visa to Lucy just before the public meeting at Bangabanadhu Udyan in the divisional city on Thursday afternoon,’ PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told the news agency.
He said that while handing over the passport, the premier talked to the 87-year-old Lucy, a humanitarian who is now working at Oxford Mission in Barisal city.
‘She (Lucy) was very impressed while talking to the prime minister,’ the press secretary said.
Lucy, daughter of John Holt and Francese Holt, was born in the British town of St Helens on December 16 in 1930. She first visited Bangladesh after completing 12th grade in 1960.
Lucy joined Barisal Oxford Mission in that year and taught primary school children. She never returned home and has been staying in Bangladesh as she fell in love with the country and the people.
She has worked in Jessore, Khulna, Naogaon, Dhaka and Gopalganj for 57 years. Lucy, who went on retirement in 2004, returned to Barisal Oxford Mission the same year.
She now provides English and mental growth lessons to distressed children. Besides, Lucy also raises funds from the rich for the helpless children.
The unmarried Lucy made outstanding contributions to Bangladesh’s liberation war by taking care of the wounded during the war.
At that time, Lucy taught English at Jessore Catholic Church. When the war broke out, all except Lucy went to Khulna for safe shelter after the church closed down.
During the war, she worked at Fatema Hospital and nursed the war-wounded at the amazement of the doctors.
Barisal Metropolitan Police honoured Lucy on December 16 last year for her invaluable contributions to the liberation war.
Lucy’s last wish is to be buried in Bangladesh and to become a Bangladeshi citizen before she dies.
She said that she applied for the citizenship quite a few times as she had to spend a huge amount of money every year to get her visa renewed.
‘Last year, I spent Tk 38,000 for visa renewal which is a huge amount of money for me as I’m now getting only £75 (equivalent to Tk 7,500) every month as retirement allowance,’ she said.
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