SHELBURNE COUNTY. N.S. – When a Shelburne County man had to leave his family behind after being ordered to leave the country this past spring, he said his heart had been ripped out.
But now it looks like Simon O’Rourke can return and be reunited with his family, and those with a lot of heart are stepping up to help him out.
O’Rourke’s wife Mandy has been approved as a spousal sponsor for him to return to Canada and eventually become a permanent citizen. The application is officially being processed. It’s still a long process to reach final conclusion but it’s good news for the family who had worried the spousal support might not be approved.
As this newspaper reported in the spring, O’Rourke moved to Canada from the United Kingdom after marrying Mandy Smith in 2008. He was not a permanent resident but thought because of his marriage he would be allowed to stay here with his wife and children. In 2010 Canada Border Service Agency started investigating whether he was illegally working in Canada, an allegation he denied. He was sent back to England several times, including in May of this year.
Now, with approval for spousal sponsorship, a fundraiser is being planned to help with O’Rourke’s return. As he does the things he needs to do on his side overseas – filling out paper work, undergoing a medical exam, and getting other approvals – in Shelburne County a Dec. 3 fundraiser is being planned to help with the financial side of things.
Helping to organize this fundraiser is Gina Bond-Goyetche.
“We hope to raise enough money to take a lot of the financial burden off,” she says.
The event will be held at the Shelburne Lion’s Hall from 12-4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3. The day will feature a Chinese auction, a donation jar, a cupcake table and free coffee. There may also be a 50/50 draw.
“We’ve got loads of really good items that have been donated by different businesses,” Bond-Goyetche says. “To name a few, Bob Baker’s in Lockeport has donated two $30-value fish prizes (5lbs); Hairadise, Shear Touch and Denise’s Family Haircare have all donated certificates; TLC & Spencer’s have donated items, Charlotte Lane gave a $50 gift certificate, Gina’s Funtography (me) has donated gift certificates and there’s much more.”
She says they are still looking for support for the event.
“We’re still very much looking for donations, not just from businesses but anyone can contact me to donate,” Bond-Goyetche says. She can be contacted through Facebook or by telephone at 902-874-1650. “Have an item you don’t use but it’s new? We’ll take it.”
Bond-Goyetche also says the IOOF in Jordan Falls has agreed to pay for O’Rourke’s flight home. The Shelburne Lions Club has donated the use of their hall for the fundraiser.
Asked why she has decided to help out, Bond-Goyetche says, “When God tells you to do something, do it. I just felt like it was in my heart to do it. I couldn’t understand why no one else was really doing anything so I thought, let’s get ‘er done.”