A WIGAN woman at the centre of a heartbreaking custody battle in Libya will hold a fund-raising event to try and bring her children home.
Clare Wagner, from Beech Hill, is holding the evening at Sam’s Bar to try and raise enough money for her to fly to Libya and fight in the courts for the right to bring her three youngsters back to Britain.
Clare says she was forced to leave North Africa without daughters Laila, nine, Suhaila, five, and four-year-old son Tariq after her ex-husband Abdul Munem Eleman refused to let her take them out of the country in 2013.
The fund-raising event on Sunday will also hear from Hindley Green mum Sarah Taylor, who fought a three-year battle in Libya for the return of her daughter Nadia after she was taken there in 2007.
Clare, 29, said: “I got in touch with Sarah when I got back to the UK. She got Nadia out of Libya and back to the UK so I believe it can be done again.
“I realise I’ve got a big fight on my hands, first to get custody and then to be able to get out of the country, but Sarah got help from the government and hopefully they will help me as well.
“You’ve got to give it your all when it’s your own kids.”
The fund-raising night will see the Beech Hill community come together to help Clare achieve her goal, with businesses donating raffle prizes and singer Ryan James performing.
Clare says she has been overwhelmed by local residents’ support for her battle.
She said: “Everyone has been really supportive, with fish and chip shops donating vouchers for meals and hairdressers’ salons and sunbed shops getting involved.
“I’ve also put up posters around Wigan Market and a few of the traders have stopped me saying they wish there was more they could do and telling me to keep my chin up. Everybody’s really pulling together.”
Sarah, who was reunited with Nadia in December 2009 and is now trustee for the charity Abducted Angels which supports parents in custody battles around the world, says her message to Clare and her supporters will be one of hope.
She said: “Hopefully telling everyone some of my story and how I got Nadia back will give them a bit of a boost.
“From speaking to Clare I can tell she’s very much like I was, determined to do what what she has to for her kids’ sake. It would be brilliant if everyone comes along to support her.
“Hopefully we can raise enough money to get her over to Libya to win through the courts and get those children back home where they belong.”
The fund-raising event is at Sam’s Bar, on Wellfield Road in Beech Hill, on Sunday May 4 from 4pm. For more information, search for the group Laila Suhaila Tariq My Beautiful Children on Facebook.