Hartlepool expat great-grandmother wins three-year battle to stay with family in Australia

Fran, second left, next to grandson Michael, daughter Karen Brabham, granddaughter Amy and son-in-law Neale Brabham
Fran, second left, next to grandson Michael, daughter Karen Brabham, granddaughter Amy and son-in-law Neale Brabham

An expat Hartlepool great-grandmother who faced being deported from Australia because she was ‘too ill’ has won her fight to stay with her family.

Fran Davies, 78, emigrated to Perth in 2009 where all her family live following the death of her husband.

Fran Davies is 'ecstatic' after winning an appeal to stay with her family in Australia.

Fran Davies is 'ecstatic' after winning an appeal to stay with her family in Australia.

Her application for a permanent visa was initially refused by the Australian authorities who said she would be a burden to the country’s health system and taxpayers due to her having a serious blood disorder and other health problems.

Things looked even more bleak for Fran when a final tribunal also denied her visa last summer.

But the decision has now been reversed after Fran and her family appealed to David Coleman, Australia’s minister for immigration and home affairs, to intervene.

Fran’s daughter Karen Brabham told the Mail: “We are all ecstatic to say the least.

Fran Davies (left) with grandaughter Amy Pintabona, great-grandaughter Alayah Pintabona and daughter Karen Brabham.

Fran Davies (left) with grandaughter Amy Pintabona, great-grandaughter Alayah Pintabona and daughter Karen Brabham.

“I received a phone call from my lawyer and she said ‘your mum’s been granted residency’.

“Mum was shocked and confused and said ‘what do you mean?’ I said ‘you have been granted residency so you get to stay’.

“She was totally gobsmacked but she’s very, very happy.”

Fran developed a blood disorder that has required several transfusions about 18 months after moving to Australia, and also has a thyroid problem.

She and her family feared the cold North East climate could make it worse and even kill her.

But Fran, who was married to Brian Davies and used to run Brus Hardware shop in Hartlepool, pays for her own medication.

She moved to Perth to be with daughter Karen and son Kevin Stevens, and her four grandchildren.

She recently became a great-grandmother for the second time and friends at her local church in Australia described Fran as a very important part of the community.

A campaign called Fight For Fran was set up by her family which included a petition that was supported by thousands of people.

Karen said her mum, and the rest of the family, can finally relax and look forward to the future.

She added: “The relief is awesome. It’s taken its toll, the stress has been colossal, with mum it was the prospect of what hardship lay ahead after leaving Australia and from my point of view it was the emotional and financial impact of relocating mum.

“It’s time for mum and our family to put this saga behind us and time for mum to start living the dream.”