A spirited idea to boost reunion quest

Medium Karen Berrey and Stephen Bell
Medium Karen Berrey and Stephen Bell

A medium is organising a psychic night to raise money for a dad from the borough embroiled in a desperate trans-Atlantic custody battle.

Karen Berrey, from Winstanley, is stepping in to help her friend Stephen Bell bring his four-year-old son Charlie home from the States where he is currently living with his ex-partner’s relatives.

Stephen, who is currently living in Leigh, has been battling to gain custody for months and has now secured a trial in Illinois in December but needs to raise around £20,000 in order to pay his lawyer’s fees.

Karen hopes that the night, which features some of the North West’s best-known mediums and a host of fund-raising activities, will bring in around £2,000 to contribute to the Higher Folds resident’s custody fund.

Stephen today spoke of his efforts to get out to the USA to go before a judge.

And he says that as the campaign gains new support and impetus, he is daring to hope he and Charlie might now spend Christmas together in the borough.

The 34-year-old said: “It has just been one big roller-coaster nightmare.

“We have jumped through all the legal hoops and got the trial, but now we have to pay a retainer and the bill is going to be between $20,000 and $30,000.

“The news we are getting so far is that everything looks very positive, so we have to raise as much money as we can as quickly as we can.

“We are throwing everything in at the moment and I’m extremely grateful to Karen for doing this event for me.

“To get home with everything sorted so Charlie and I can build a life for ourselves over here would be the best Christmas present I could ever hope to get.

“It’s what we always wanted to do.

“It’s just a shame it has taken me the long way round.”

Stephen met Charlie’s American mum in London and they moved to the States together.

But a planned move back to the UK never happened and left him facing his current ordeal to bring his son back to Wigan.

He has also been hard at work fund-raising for the legal fight, running the recent Wigan 10k to bring in £600 and helping to raise £800 at a family event.

The fund-raising psychic night is taking place at Stubshaw Cross Labour Club in October with Karen working alongside fellow mediums Paul Deleth, Bernadette Cullum and Chris Shearer.

As well as demonstrations of mediumship visitors will get the chance to have private consultations and tarot readings, with raffles, tombolas, bingo and stalls to swell the fund-raising total further.

The fund-raising night is at the club on Walter Street on October 27. The doors open at 6pm.