Leeds Windrush victim could not travel to see star athlete sister's Olympic glory

WINDRUSH child Lorenzo Hoyte was brought up in Leeds with a sister who was a star athlete who went on to represent Great Britain at two Olympic Games '“ but he wasn't allowed a passport to travel to see her compete

Friday, 25th May 2018, 7:00 am
24 May 2018...... Windrush child Lorenzo Hoyte who came to Beeston in Leeds in the 1960s was unable to attend his mother or his brothers funerals because he is not classed as a British citizen and canot get a passport to travel abroad. he was also unable to travel to the Moscow Olympics in 1980 or the Los Angeles games in 1984 to see his sister Josyln Hoyte-Smith compete in the women's 4x400m relay. Mt Hoyte, 61, now of Wrenthoprpe, Wakefield, works as a welder At Hopkins Catering Equipment in Pudsey. Lorenzo with his brothers Barbados passport he came into the country with as a child. Picture Tony Johnson.

Mr Hoyte, 61, has had to live his life in the shadows for fear of being deported.

He still regrets not being allowed to travel when sister Joslyn Hoyte-Smith won a bronze medal in the women’s 4x400m relay at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 before competing in the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

He said: “I was gutted so that’s when I learned to lie. People used to say they couldn’t believe I hadn’t been to see my sister.

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Josyln Hoyte-Smith running for Great Britain.

“I used to tell people I was scared of flying, that’s why I didn’t go. What could I tell them, that I wasn’t British?”

Mr Hoyte was also unable to travel to attend his mother or brother’s funerals abroad because he is not classed as a British citizen and is still being denied a UK passport.

Mr Hoyte was brought up in Beeston, Leeds, now lives in of Wrenthorpe, Wakefield.

He has worked as a welder all his life but has had to work on temporary contracts and has been unable to get a mortgage to buy a house.

Lorenzo Hoyte's late mother Maretha

Mr Hoyte, who has tried and failed to get a passport on numerous occasions, said he has been unable to secure full-time employment and is not eligible for benefits during inevitable periods of unemployment because he has not been classed as a UK citizen.

He was further angered this month when Home Office officials failed to get his details correct on his residence permit on two occasions.

Mr Hoyte said: “I have suffered in silence for years, but I don’t have to put up with it any more because now I don’t have a fear of being deported.”

Mr Hoyte was born in Barbados in 1956 and travelled to the UK aged nine on 14-year-old half-brother Philmore’s passport after his father Belfield Hoyte, now 89, was employed as a guard on the railways in Leeds.

Lorenzo Hoyte's late brother Stephen

Some members of his family emigrated to Canada in the 1980s, but he was denied a passport so he could to see his seriously ill mother Maretha before her death in 2007.

And he could not travel to Canada when his brother Stephen died in 2013 aged in his mid-fifties.

Mr Hoyte, who had three sisters and two brothers, said: “It was a very sad time. I just sat on my own in the house, thinking ‘Today is my mum’s funeral and I’m here’.

“I don’t even get to say goodbye to my mum.

“And then my brother died and I don’t even get to say goodbye to my brother.”

Mr Hoyte, who has five children and six grandchildren, said he is still no closer to getting a UK passport. He said: “What do I do, where do I go, who do I turn to?”

Conservative Morley and Outwood MP Andrea Jenkyns said she does not want any of the Windrush generation to be in any doubt about their right to remain in the UK.

Mr Hoyte has contacted Ms Jenkyns about his problems getting a UK passport.

Ms Jenkyns said: “Commonwealth citizens, like the Windrush generation, have contributed enormously to our country and I do not want anyone to be in any doubt about their right to remain in the UK.

“I am pleased that the Home Secretary has said that members of the Windrush generation who arrived here before 1973 will be eligible for free citizenship. I am also pleased the new Home Secretary has said that his most urgent task is to help the Windrush generation.”

A Home Office spokesman, said: “We are delighted we have been able to meet Mr Hoyte and confirm his no time limit status.

“We would encourage all from the Windrush generation who require documentation to contact the helpline. A Commonwealth citizen who arrived in the United Kingdom before 1973 and has lived there since then will be entitled to apply for British citizenship, free of charge. Further details can be found here: www.parliament.uk/writtenstatements

The spokesman added: “We are working with Mr Hoyte to correct any administrative errors in his Biometric Residence Permit.”