Emo­tional let­ter

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

BILLY IRVING’S fi­ancée Yvonne MacHugh has writ­ten a heart­felt let­ter to The Oban Times urg­ing peo­ple to keep up their sup­port.

YVONNE MACHUGH, the partner of Con­nel man Billy Irving, who is do­ing five years’ hard labour in In­dia, has writ­ten a heart­felt let­ter fol­low­ing the news that there might fi­nally be some in­ter­ven­tion from the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment.

Yvonne writes: ‘Last week we learned that Prime Minister Theresa May had raised our case with the In­dian Prime Minister Naren­dra Modi at the G20 sum­mit and we fi­nally we heard from Boris John­son, the For­eign Sec­re­tary.

‘Mr John­son vowed to ‘leave no stone un­turned’ in the case of the Chen­nai6 Billy and his fel­low Bri­tish sol­diers serv­ing time.

‘These are words we have been wait­ing to hear for far too long now.

It has ig­nited a light in our cam­paign that was slowly start­ing to dull with years of cam­paign­ing yet the men still lan­guish­ing in prison.

‘We must say a mas­sive thank you to all our MPs for their con­tin­ued sup­port and a big thank you to Chris Mathe­son MP, who raised the case in par­lia­ment last week along with for­mer For­eign Of­fice minister Sir Hugo Swire.

‘Sir Hugo knows more than many the strug­gles we have faced as fami- lies and the fears and tor­ment the men face daily.

‘He has been in­volved from day one. He has even trav­elled to In­dia to visit the men in prison to see for him­self the hor­rific con­di­tions they face and to lend his sup­port.

‘He has be­ing ex­tremely forth­com­ing with all the fam­i­lies, trav­el­ling to meet us all and has used ev­ery op­por­tu­nity pos­si­ble to raise our case.

Our hope is that Boris will em­brace some of the pas­sion Sir Hugo and ev­ery MP in­volved has for this case and put those words into ac­tion to bring our men home.

‘This re­ally hasn’t come out of the blue though. The sup­port ev­ery­one has shown us in this cam­paign has been re­lent­less and hum­bling.

We had huge sup­port from Para­chute Reg­i­ment vet­er­ans sup­port­ing their fel­low vet­er­ans through do­na­tions and protests.

‘We had a num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als tak­ing part in sport­ing events rais­ing both funds and aware­ness.

‘I don’t know where we would be with­out all the gen­eros­ity and kind­ness shown to us in­di­vid­u­ally and our cam­paign as a whole.

Writ­ing to your lo­cal MPs, not to men­tion all those thou­sands of post cards that landed on the desks of Theresa May, Boris John­son and the In­dian high com­mis­sion­ers.

‘All those ac­tions to­gether have re­sulted in our case fi­nally be­ing heard.

We must keep up the mo­men­tum and en­sure we don’t lose the at­ten­tion the men have gained. That can only be done with your help.

‘Please con­tinue to use so­cial me­dia to spread the word. Get writ­ing let­ters again and buy a cou­ple more post­cards - we can’t al­low those words not to lead to ac­tion.

‘Thank you ev­ery­one, we would be lost with­out you.’

Yvonne MacHugh with her and Billy’s son Wil­liam on their way to In­dia.

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