Family and friends carried out a public protest against Wellingborough Prison’s decision to deprive a three-year-old of seeing her father before a life-threatening operation.
People demonstrated in Rothwell and then Kettering in a last-ditch attempt to persuade the prison governor to let Jamie Edwards be at the bedside of his daughter Cerys.
Little Cerys, of Kettering was this morning due to have eight hours of surgery to remove a cancerous tumour and had been denied a visit from her dad.
But, with just 16 hours to go until the operation, Mr Edwards was escorted to the hospital on compassionate leave.
Things had not looked so rosy for much of yesterday, with mum Adele, 35, of Sackville Street, being told that Mr Edwards would not be allowed out.
She said: “I think the protests have helped and I’m overwhelmed by all the support we’ve had, especially from people we don’t even know – it’s phenomenal.
“I’ve had emails from lots of people, even as far away as America, showing their support.
“We don’t know what she is going to be like after the operation.
“Your brain is your computer and for a three-year-old to endure surgery on it is hard.
“I just want to get her out of here.”
Protesters gathered about 1,000 signatures from members of the public yesterday after demonstrating outside Market House in Rothwell and in Wadcroft in Kettering.
He has just 15 days of his 10-month sentence for actual bodily harm left but the family fear Cerys might not make it through the operation to remove 95 per cent of the tumour at the back of her head.
Clint Hale, of Spencer Street, Rothwell, joined the protests yesterday.
He used to work with Jamie and is a close friend.
He said: “The protests aren’t about Jamie, we’re doing this for Cerys.
“They’re always letting people out of prison early so why not Jamie?”
Mr Edwards is back in prison today and, under the terms of his leave, cannot visit the hospital again until he has served the remainder of his sentence.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “Prisoners who are not eligible for release on temporary licence to visit sick relatives can, in exceptional circumstances, be escorted by staff.”