...and this is the pain Brexit is causing to our friends
Elly Wright, Dutch, resident in the UK since 1967
In 1966 I got married to someone who was in the British Army and then in 1967 we came here to Britain where we had our son, and I have never left. Eventually I got married again, but not until 1990
I have always worked here, apart from about 4 years when my son was little. I worked in the NHS which was good going because they had a creche where my son could be looked after until he went to school and I could work on the premises so that was good.
The last 10 years of my working life I worked for the Notting Hill housing trust which was fantastic, a really nice job. Everyone was very enthusiastic, you really felt like you were doing something positive for people to get accommodation. There were lots of reorganisations and it became extremely stressful, much more work with ever less people. In the end I wanted to paint full time and after ten years I decided to give up working for Notting Hill Housing Trust.
I had already started to do art courses but then I did a degree at Chelsea. It was a total change, it opened up a whole new life for me, it was very nice. Maybe when I was younger and my son was very little I would have liked to go back to Holland but I couldn’t, his father was here and had the right to see him so it was never really a possibility then. Then my son got bigger and I had built up a good life here, I had no wish to go back to the Netherlands. I am Dutch, it is my identity really but I do identify culturally, politically, socially, far more with Britain because 50 years is not nothing is it?
I have always found it hard not to vote here in the general elections. And with this referendum the fact that we were unable to vote, I found it so unacceptable. So I am reluctant but I think I will go for citizenship. For me voting is very important, especially in my later years. I couldn’t put my money where my mouth is. It’s not right. I feel strongly about that.
The referendum has affected me very much, I am totally shocked. All the things that the EU made possible for people in Europe, the fact that we have lived in peace for so long, for all that to be forgotten because of short term specific interests that are mostly to do with economics, not people.
I have had sleepless nights worrying about my status. It’s strange that you have to question all these things now.
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