Dad’s fight for his son’s return goes on

Stephen Bell and his friend Karen Berrey have organised a fund-raising night
Stephen Bell and his friend Karen Berrey have organised a fund-raising night

A Leigh dad has spoken of his latest chapter in his battle to win a desperate trans-Atlantic custody battle.

Stephen Bell wants to bring his four-year-old son Charlie home from the States where he is currently living with his ex-partner’s relatives.

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

Stephen Bell

The 34-year-old 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 to pay his lawyer’s fees.

Stephen today spoke of his efforts to get out to the USA to go before a judge and says he dares to hope he and Charlie might now spend Christmas together in the borough.

He said: “It’s just been one big roller-coaster nightmare. We’ve 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. We’re throwing everything in at the moment and I’m very 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 ever. It’s what we always wanted to do, it’s just a shame it’s 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 Leigh.

He has organised a series of fund-raisers with friend Karen Berrey.

She hopes the latest 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 has also been hard at work fund-raising for the legal fight. 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.

Karen, 33, said: “I’m a friend of Stephen’s and I said to him I could do a fund-raiser because being a medium we could raise quite a lot of money from an event.”

The fund-raising night is at Stubshaw Cross Labour Club on Walter Street on October 27. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets are £10, available from the venue or by ringing Karen on 07539 235811.

To donate or find out more, visit www.gofundme.com/doingitforcharlie