Dad's message to Merseyside's 'great people' who give him 'hope'

75 year old Nelson Shardey, from Seacombe was told in 2019 he's not a British citizen
75 year old Nelson Shardey, from Seacombe was told in 2019 he's not a British citizen -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

A Merseyside dad said he is “very, very grateful” after more than 1,000 people supported his legal challenge against the Home Office.

Nelson Shardey moved to the UK in 1977 as an accountancy student from Ghana and has now lived and worked in the country for over 46 years. He has three adult children and in 1991, he set up Nelson’s News on Borough Road in Seacombe.

In 2019, Nelson found out that he was not a British citizen, which came as a shock to him and his family. They are currently taking legal action against the Home Office but will have to pay their legal fees if the family lose the case.

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The family set up a fundraising campaign to help cover these potential costs which they estimate to be around £20,000 but it has now received more than 1,000 donations and raised more than £29,000. However if they win the case against the government, all of this will go towards two charities.

Nelson told the ECHO: “I am feeling great. I tell you it makes me remember the day I moved from Southampton to here, how welcoming the people of the Wirral are. It’s amazing how these people have put their hands in their pockets and donated so I am grateful to them.

“My message to them is I am grateful for what they have done. We are fighting for justice and they have joined a family of good people fighting for justice.”

He said: “It is a warning to the Home Office to interpret the law in a proper and humane way. I am really really grateful to everybody and it gives me hope to live in a country that stands for fairness.

“On the whole I am very, very grateful for the help fighting this case. We thought it would take us quite a long time. I feel there are some great people who want justice to be done in a proper way.”

Jacob said the amount that has been raised was "unbelievable"
Jacob said the amount that has been raised was "unbelievable" -Credit:Andrew Teebay Liverpool Echo

Jacob, one of Nelson’s sons, said: “Obviously it’s a relief. I just didn’t think it would come close to that this early on. People can continue to donate if they want to. We don't know what the final figure is from the Home Office.

“They keep on delaying it and that just keeps adding fees so I don’t know. We can relax a little bit. We don’t know how much it will cost but what has been raised is unbelievable.”

Nelson's been described as a local legend and received a Liverpool Echo Mersey Marvel award in 2007 after he saved a friend from a baseball bat attack. The community in Seacombe once rallied behind him after he was burgled. Nelson's MP Angela Eagle said his treatment by the Home Office "has been appalling."

Following news reports of his story, people have taken to social media to talk about their memories of him. Jay Harrison said: “Nelson is and always will be a pillar of the Wallasey and Seacombe community. 30 plus years in the shop and always a smile and a quick natter.

“The Home Office and government should be ashamed of how they have treated him and his family. I’m behind you all the way.”

Morris Nevin said they remembered Nelson coming to Wallasey, adding: “He was always the nicest, perfect gentleman you could wish to meet. Hope all goes well for him. He deserves all the help from the caring community he has served all the many years and he will get it.”

Gail Rowe said: “I first met him briefly over 30 years ago. Several months later he pulled over to offer me a lift. Such a lovely guy.” Holly Clarke said: “He is such a kind friendly man and his children he’s raised are lovely people! He’s helped so many in the community. I miss living right by his shop and having daily talks with him.”

Daisy O'Quigley said: “Nelson’s shop was a highlight of my childhood. It’s appalling and heartbreaking how he’s been treated. Surely they’ll see sense like what more does someone have to do.”

Adele Mellor said: “Most of us have known Nelson since we were kids. Our kids have also grown up knowing Nelson. My son was assaulted once and Nelson didn’t think twice in stepping in to help him, which resulted in Nelson going to hospital.”

If the family win the case, there will be no legal costs and the donations will be given to Wirral Foodbank and the Boaz Trust. A link to the fundraiser can be found here.

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