Vernon Vanriel came to the UK in 1962. This week he learned he could return but, ill and destitute, wonders how he will afford the fare
At the height of his boxing career, Vernon Vanriel fought several times at the Royal Albert Hall. From his dressing room he could hear the crowds singing his name: “‘Vernon Vanriel, Vernon Vanriel. We’ll support you ever more.’ They were singing, and I wasn’t even in the ring yet. The atmosphere was electrifying.”
Vanriel, 63, now lives in an abandoned roadside grocery shack in western Jamaica, ill, penniless and desperate to return to his family in the UK. After visiting Jamaica in 2005 he was refused a visa when he tried to go back home to the country where he had lived for 43 years, since the age of six. He has spent the past 13 years stuck, destitute and homesick.