More than 1,200 people have signed a petition to stop a Hailsham teenager being deported back to Bangladesh.
Bokthiar Rahman came to the UK around seven years ago, when he was 12. After years in full-time education and becoming an integral part of the local and cricket community, he is now facing deportation back to his country of birth.
Bok, as he is known by many, applied for a UK passport but it was refused. He has since been arrested and put in a detention centre in Kent.
Desperate to help, the local community has rallied together and started a petition to the UK immigration office to allow the teenager to remain in the country he loves.
In a joint statement from Trevor Scott, Rob Wilkinson and Jeanette Gardner - chairman, director of cricket and secretary at Hailsham Cricket Club respectively - they said, “Bok first came to our club back in 2009 as a 13-year-old boy. From the word go, it was obvious how passionate he was about cricket. He was a quiet, reserved boy who needed support and encouragement to find his feet in the club.
“From the start, the club has taken Bok to its heart, and in return Bok has given his all to the club. He has grown into a confident, polite, dedicated and loyal young man.
“Bok has become a role model for so many of our young players. He has captained the U14s and U16s and last year became the captain of our adult Sunday team.
“Since 2012, Bok has been an assistant coach for our juniors, giving his time freely to coach young players. This is in addition to playing cricket for all teams within the club.
“Bok is now an integral part of our club and our anguish at the news that he has been taken into a detention centre, facing possible deportation, has been palpable. He is a wonderful character and we cannot speak highly enough of him. He is part of our cricket family.
“Given the extent of his local integration, over the formative years of his life, we would urge you to consider the impact upon his family and private life under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.
“We would ask you to show compassion in determining his application to remain in the UK and as a club, and personally, we all support him wholeheartedly. Please let him stay in the UK so he can carry on the fantastic role he plays in our club and our lives.”
Henry Gent added, “It has been my privilege to know Bok for about 6 years. He has always been the nicest, kindest and happiest of young men. I believe he is exactly the sort of person a multi-cultural Britain should embrace and who would be an absolute credit to his adopted country.”
As he left Bangladesh at a young age, Bok has no friends there and only distant relatives who barely know him.
One Hailsham resident has even offered to be financially responsible for Bok and provide him with a place to live.
To sign the petition, which had 1,226 signatures at the time of going to press, visit www.change.org/p/uk-immigration-service-allow-bokthiar-rahman-to-stay-in-the-uk
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make our website your homepage at www.eastbourneherald.co.uk
2 Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/eastbourne.herald
3 Follow us on Twitter @Eastbournenews
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Eastbourne Herald - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.