Lin in Bretagne

I Won’t let Brexit break me

– Lin in France

My Home is in a small commune only 20 or so maisons. Bought my maison in 2004 as a shell… intended to move full-time once renovations complete, but it took longer and more money life got in the way. We are multinational here… 7 languages spoken… nationalities Dutch, Tunisian, German, Spanish, French and Brit. We all get on, we all support one another.

After 30 years in construction industry in UK my career ended in 2010 due to the crash. As soon as my neighbors found out boxes of food appeared on my doorstep, my french neighbor said “you must come home to stay now…”. I tried to stay in UK for interviews etc but DWP wouldn’t support me as ” I had a foreign asset!” I refused to sign over my home here to them..! so became homeless in UK… once my redundancy money was used up I decided to finally cut all ties with the country I used to call Home.

My UK friends were concerned as I’m “disabled” …don’t like the term… I’m just me! I have partial hearing with related issues, Autism…. Aspergers etc and born with arthritis… but this has not and never will stop me… Yes language could be an issue but unlike “normal” people I’m use to not understanding or being misunderstood… so I try harder than most to communicate…lip read etc… my spoken french is not bad… and my ears play up in any language including English. So i don’t see the issue as a problem… and neither do my neighbors etc I’m involved in commune events… feel part of a real community…. Not a faceless singleton in an English town where neighbors never speak…

I set myself up as a Gardener, all was going well, more than enough work and money to live on. But in 2013 I found a “lump”… had Cancer. My locals were amazing so supportive, 2014 was all treatment, in a great hospital and wonderful medical support here. I had 2 medical emergencies my French neighbor was there on hand to help. But I was going to restart my life! Just got back to work light duties… 2015 and had big house fire… again I shouldn’t have survived… again the locals were amazing…food clothes and whip round!!

I spent the next year sorting the house, working when I could, body allowed ..but 2016 I was back in hospital this time with critical Pneumonia … I came out of hospital and turned on TV to see David Cameron fix the date for Referendum! Told myself they wouldn’t be so stupid…. I finally moved back to my Maison ….I had a special new friend coming… Bertie, my little rescue dog. He sat with me the night of that Referendum…we didn’t go to bed… he jumped up on my lap as I sobbed uncontrollably… after 20 yrs of planning, after all the trauma of the last few years… to see it all taken away…. If not for Bertie…. I’m still on cancer treatment but can only work a few hours, due to Brexit I can’t get help from RSA/CFA but I’m fortunate to be supported by Charities.

But my Home here is now at risk if Brexit happens… so I’m fighting in every way I can… No, not self interest!!…I won’t live long enough to see this mess sorted!! But for my Dad and the millions who died… My Dad was one of the “Little Ships” at Dunkirk… glad he is no longer alive to see what has been done… 70 years of Peace at risk, and for the young who couldn’t vote and those yet to be born! I want them all to have the same chances I had! I want them to live in Peace in Europe as I have…. So I fight …. the cancer hasn’t got me yet, I escaped the fire, I fought the bacteria of pneumonia….

I Won’t let Brexit break me!! If the worst happens I may lose my healthcare, my right to work, my right to reside …. I may have to change my plans…. BUT I’m NOT going back!!… There is nothing there for me, the love and support I have had since being here through it all…..would never have happened in UK!! I no longer recognise the country of my birth…most of the time I’m ashamed of being a Brit… feel I have to apologise for the “untruths” that come out of that place!… So I’m doing my bit I support and offer help to those who are trying so hard like Kalba Meadows, Sarah Parkes and others for #Citizensrights #StopBrexit #StrongerTogether!!!!

Lin is just one of the volunteers to our Citizens’ Panel.