Hartest grandfather Ian Simpson praises support for family quest to bring grandchildren to UK from China
Hartest grandfather Ian Simpson has thanked villagers and friends for supporting the quest to win custody of his grandchildren.
At Christmas Mr Simpson won the legal right to bring his six-year-old granddaughter Alice back from China. She is now attending school and 'doing really well', he says.
Now, he is fund-raising to bring her brother Jack, seven, back to the UK.
Two years ago Ian’s son Michael, 34, who lived in China, was murdered by his estranged wife Weiwei Fu. Their children were taken to live with their maternal grandparents in a remote province.
Neighbours in Hartest then set up a JustGiving page and organised fund-raising events to contribute to Mr Simpson’s legal costs. Mr Simpson’s wife, Diana, and Michael’s mother Linda, as well as extended family, were all involved in the decision to fight for custody.
More support came when national and international media covered the story.
Mr Simpson says he has spent around £100,000 so far.
He said: “The support I have received from people over the past 21 months has been amazing. So many care, it’s unbelievable.
“People have been really great; they smile and talk to you and ask if they can help. We’ve received donations of clothes and toys, school uniform, a dolls' house and a scooter.
“We’ve also had help from a number of Chinese people.”
He praised Hartest Primary School, saying it had been supportive helping Alice to settle in.
“They organised for things to be translated. But who would have thought that a primary school in Suffolk has a school secretary who speaks Mandarin? That has been great.”
His grandchildren were told by their Chinese family their parents are working abroad. Mr Simpson has had to tell Alice that is not true.
He now plans to write an account of what has happened over the last 21 months so he has a record to give to Alice and Jack.
As a condition of the custody agreement, the siblings can meet once a year for a holiday – Jack could visit the UK this summer.
Mr Simpson has urged people with children to make a will.
“We would have had custody much earlier if there had been a will dealing with Michael’s wishes,” he added.