Homeless Hackney lorry driver Cecil needs £808 to prove his immigration status and get his life back

PUBLISHED: 14:13 21 March 2017

Cecil Hayes outside Dalston's CLR James Library. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cecil Hayes outside Dalston's CLR James Library. Picture: Polly Hancock


A luckless lorry driver has found himself homeless at 61 after the passport proving his immigration status was stolen and he lost his job.

Cecil Hayes needs £808 to get his job, and his life, back. Picture: Polly HancockCecil Hayes needs £808 to get his job, and his life, back. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cecil Hayes has been told it will cost £808 for a permit allowing him to get back behind the wheel – cash he doesn’t have.

He was working at Tesco through an agency but was shown the door last summer when he was unable to produce his papers during a routine audit. After that he spent months sleeping rough in Finsbury Park because he ran out of rent money, and is now at the Hackney Winter Night Shelter.

But Cecil’s been given a lifeline by immigration lawyer Mandie Sewa, who met him while volunteering at his Crisis centre over Christmas.

Mandie has launched a fundraising campaign to find the money required for the “biometric residence permit”, with

“Cecil is a lovely mild-mannered gentleman, who has lived in the UK for 51 years,” she said. “He’s contributed to British society by working, paying taxes and raising a family. He’s found himself homeless because of ‘get tough’ policies.

“The card will help him finally get his life back and once again contribute to society in the only country he considers as his home.”

Tesco, faced with a £20,000 fine, had to let him go, but said a job was waiting for him as soon as he got the paperwork.

“I don’t want to be on the street,” said Cecil, who used to live in Balls Pond Road. “I’ve been working my whole life since I left school. The longest I’ve been out of work is six months.

“If I knew who took my passport and birth certificate I’d kick their b******s. Look what they’ve done to me. It’s not easy, bruv.

“Before I came to the night shelter I was out in Finsbury Park, literally in the park. There’s bushes up there and some trees. For two months I was there, I didn’t have much choice.

“I’ve got a family, and children, but I have kept this away from them. I don’t want it to upset them.”

“All I want to do is get my bloody things together. Sometimes I’m out there in the cold and rain and snow. People are looking at me like I’m a down and out.”

The Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases when contacted by the Gazette.

To donate to Cecil’s fundraiser, click here.

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