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Hubert Howard: Home Office says it will pay compensation to Windrush victim's family as funeral fundraiser launched

PUBLISHED: 14:02 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:04 21 November 2019

Hubert Howard. Picture: Cllr Michael Desmond

Hubert Howard. Picture: Cllr Michael Desmond

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The family of a Windursh victim who died last week have launched a fundraiser to pay for his funeral after his battle for citizenship left him cash-strapped.

The Gazette's story on Hubert Howard in 2012.The Gazette's story on Hubert Howard in 2012.

Lower Clapton man Hubert Howard, 62, died on Tuesday after a battle with illnesses including leukaemia, which he blamed on his 14-year ordeal.

He had received no apology or compensation, though he had finally been granted citizenship three weeks ago while in intensive care - 59 years after he arrived in London.

A GoFundMe page to raise £15,000 was launched by Hubert's daughter Maresha Howard Rose. She said: "My father sadly got seriously ill while waiting for his citizenship and compensation. Because of the situation my father didn't have funds to have a funeral and burial."

The Home Office has now told the Gazette Hubert's compensation will still be progressed and that it would be getting in touch with his family, to whom it gave its condolences.

Hubert went to school in Hackney, was given a national insurance number and lived in a council property. He had two children and paid his taxes, but in 2005 discovered problems with his papers when his employers Peabody asked him to prove his legal right to work.

The Home Office then told him they had no record of him and in 2009 Peabody found he had no legal right to be in the country and sacked him.

Hackney Downs ward Cllr Michael Desmond, who worked on Hubert's case for more than a decade, said: "Hubert was a constituent of mine, he came to the UK from Jamaica in 1960 but due to government inertia and complacency, had not formally become a British citizen.

"I worked with him, writing to the Home Office - who showed no interest in resolving the situation - and eventually putting him in touch with Amelia Gentleman, a Guardian journalist, who forcefully exposed the Windrush scandal and caused sufficient embarrassment to the government to force a rethink and apology.

"Hubert lost his job because of the problem with his status, was badly affected by cuts to legal aid and suffered from diabetes and leukaemia - but at all times remained stoic, family and community-oriented and positive, despite all the setbacks.

"We have lost a warm, engaging man who was faced with a Kafkaesque nightmare which was a disgrace to the country and shamed our government."

Speaking to the Gazette last year, Hubert said: "They've got to realise this thing made me very ill."

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