After 57 years of serving Bangladesh, starting from 1960, throughout the Liberation War, and thereafter, the decision to grant 87-year old Lucy Helen Francis Holt Bangladeshi citizenship has finally been taken. Due to her praiseworthy contributions to the country, especially during 1971, she will be granted the citizenship as soon as possible.
British-born Sister Lucy received the news yesterday afternoon, around 3:00pm, from the Deputy Commissioner of Barisal, Md. Habibur Rahman, who visited her and congratulated her with flowers on receiving the well-deserved status. The decision was taken after an inter-ministerial meeting at the home ministry, sources said.
Lucy had previously expressed that her last wish was to be a Bangladeshi citizen and to be buried in this very land so that she could forever remain here.
Upon receiving the news of citizenship, Lucy was delighted and said she wants to thank Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“We forwarded Lucy Holt's application to the home ministry to extend her visa without visa-fee and recommended that they grant her Bangladeshi citizenship,” Habibur said.
A letter was then sent from the home ministry, signed by Monira Haque, senior assistant secretary, security services division (immigration-II), to Lucy on February 1 in response to her application sent on December 13, 2017, confirming the visa extension.
On February 8, Lucy was granted 15 years 'M' category visa (multiple entry) without visa fee from PM Sheikh Hasina at a programme held at Barisal's Bangabandhu Uddyan.
Sharing her birthday with Bangladesh, Lucy Holt was born on December 16, 1930, on British land but as a blessing to our own. After coming to Bangladesh in 1960, she was a witness to the 1971 war and had treated wounded freedom fighters and civilians during the time while serving at Fatema Hospital in Jessore.
During the period, she wrote to her relatives, and had asked them to extend their support to the tortured people of the then East Pakistan in their war for independence.
Even though she was requested to leave at the beginning of the war, she insisted on staying by the side of the “freedom-loving people”. Lucy was mesmerised by Bangladesh's natural beauty and its people, and has worked around the country since.
In these 57 years, she has also worked in Khulna, Naogaon, Dhaka, and Gopalganj.
Sister Holt had joined Oxford Mission Church of Barisal at the age of 30 and spent most of her time here. She currently teaches English in the church for free.
Known in the mission and the locality for her compassion and love for people, Sister Holt said she wants to spend the rest of her days in Barisal.