A TERMINALLY ill man has pleaded with immigration bosses to rethink the status of his wife’s visa - before he faces the prospect of dying alone.

Robert Winstanley was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2018, with doctors estimating the 84-year-old only had a matter of months to live.

But the former painter and decorator, who lives in Gisburn in the Ribble Valley, now faces dying alone as the Home Office have refused to extend the stay period on his wife’s visa.

Sirima Winstanley, originally from Chiang Mai in Thailand, is currently in the UK on a standard visitor’s visa, which allows her to stay in the country for six months of the year on the condition that she spends the remaining months in Thailand.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph about his heartache, Mr Winstanley said: “Sirima and I have been married for 18 years. We have lived both in Thailand and in England during that time, but my recent diagnosis means I will no longer be able to spend the six months in Thailand that Sirima has to in line with her visa.

“She has to travel back at the beginning of September and won’t be allowed to return for six months. The reality is I could have died by then, alone and without my wife by my side.”

The pensioner has now spent thousands of pounds on an immigration lawyer in the hope that they can find a way to keep Sirima, 61, in the country until he passes away.

He said: “I’ve spoken to the Home Office on the phone, written letters to them, spent over £4,000 on an immigration lawyer and attempted to enlist the help of our local MP Nigel Evans to get this matter resolved.

“But nothing has been done about it. It is as though nobody cares that I may struggle to live the last few months of my life without care and ultimately die alone if my wife isn’t allowed to stay. She has no intention of staying in the UK after I die. She will move back to Thailand to be with her family. We just want to be together until then.”

Mr and Mrs Winstanley got married in Birmingham in 2002 before travelling back to live in Thailand for several years, frequently visiting the UK throughout that period.

But in 2017, Mr Winstanley decided he wanted to move home to his native Lancashire, bringing his wife with him.

To begin with the conditions of Mrs Winstanley’s visa did not pose an issue to the pair as they were spending six months of the year in Gisburn and the other six in Thailand.

But Mr Winstanley has said he is disappointed with the Home Office’s reaction to his pleas for help.

In a letter to the government body, Mr Winstanley wrote: “The Home Office must already be aware that we have always respected visa regulations.

“In April I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and am becoming weaker every day - I need my wife and will need her more and more. There is no way she can return to Thailand.”

He added: “I am very worried.”

Friends of the pair have also blasted the Home Office’s reluctance to help them out in their extenuating circumstances - saying they shouldn’t be denied the chance to be together when Mr Winstanley dies.

Friend Laura Smithies, landlady at the Brown Cow in Clitheroe,has been trying to help the couple with there fight and she said,: “When they told me what was going on I wanted to try and help them out. I can’t believe that this is happening. They are such a wonderful couple and they don’t deserve this. Nobody does.”

The couple first met after Mr Winstanley packed his bags to leave the UK for a bicycle trip around the world at the age of 62, following the death of his first wife.

Between the ages of 62 and 66, the sportsman travelled to over 32 countries on his bike, pitching his tent anywhere he could find a place.

He met Sirima after arriving in Thailand and has since written a book, No Guts No Story, all about his adventure around the world. Tales of his travels - including the time he was once held captive in a bar in Mexico after being mistaken for an American - have featured in the media around the globe. Mr Winstanley added: “All we want is to spend the last few months of my life together. ”

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A spokesman for the Home Office said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.”