PM stands by British citizen Lucy Helen

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Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has come forward to the help of Lucy Helen Frances Holt, a British citizen who is living in Bangladesh for 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, BSS reports.

“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 BSS.

He said 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 with 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. After completing 12th grade, she first visited Bangladesh in 1960.

Lucy joined Barisal Oxford Mission 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 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.

Now she is providing English lessons and mental growth to the distressed children. Besides, Lucy is collecting fund from the rich people for the helpless children.

The celibate Lucy also made outstanding contributions to Bangladesh’s liberation war as she took care of the war-wounded people.

At that time, Lucy taught English at Jessore Catholic Church. When the war started, all except Lucy went to Khulna for safe shelter after closing the church.

During the war, she worked at Fatema Hospital and provided nursing to the war-wounded people where the doctors were amazed at her generosity.

Barisal Metropolitan Police honoured Lucy on December 16 last for her invaluable contributions to the liberation war.

Lucy’s last wish is to be buried on the Bangladesh soil and before the death, she wants to get citizenship of this country.

She said she applied for citizenship for a number of times as she has to spend a huge amount of money every year for visa renewal.

“Last year, I spent Taka 38,000 for visa renewal which is a huge amount of money for me as I’m now getting only 75 Pounds (equivalent to Tk 7,500) every month as the retirement allowance,” she said.

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