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Bowthorpe mother's battle for passport

PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 October 2011

Nguyen Lockwood at her home in Norwich.; Photo: Bill Smith

Nguyen Lockwood at her home in Norwich.; Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

A mother from Bowthorpe who has lived in England for almost all her life has spoken of her frustration at trying to get a passport to allow her an emotional return to her place of birth.

Nguyen Lockwood, of Webster Close, was adopted by English parents in Australia after being rescued from war-torn Vietnam.

She was brought to the UK in 1972, but despite spending the majority of her life here, having a national insurance number and the right to vote, she is struggling to get a UK passport.

To make matters harder for Ms Lockwood, she also failed when trying to get a Vietnamese passport to help her visit her home country and look for any relatives, as she can’t speak Vietnamese.

Ms Lockwood was one of five orphans taken from Saigon to Australia, having been found in January 1969 as a small baby in the rubble of a nunnery.

In Australia she was adopted by Robert and Helen Stewart, who were performers touring the country, and by December 1972 she was brought to the UK where they settled in Middlesbrough.

Ms Lockwood, who is registered as 42 but could be 43 as her birth-date is unknown, moved to Norfolk 20 years ago and worked at the Hippodrome Circus, in Great Yarmouth. She married in 1992 and has four children, but after a divorce now lives in Bowthorpe with three of her children.

Ms Lockwood said: “Now my kids are older I want to go back to Vietnam if find relatives but I can’t get out.

“I am angry and upset as I don’t know who I am, I don’t know the answers.”

Ms Lockwood has been told she is unable to automatically qualify for a UK passport and is having to undergo a number of expensive nationalisation tests. This included a test for speakers of foreign languages, despite not speaking another language.

She said she has paid £250 already and expects to have to pay a further £1,000.

She said: “I have been trying for months and months but I keep hitting red tape and hurdles. It is frustrating because I am English, all I know is English, but I just can’t get a passport.”

A spokesman for the Home Office said they were unable to comment on specific cases.

Have you been battling to obtain a passport for a loved one? Contact Richard Wood on 01603 772423 or email richard.wood@archant.co.uk

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