A PETITION to return a father to his family has been signed tens of thousands of times in just a week.

Stocksfield-born Rachel Gair is battling a judge’s ruling that means her husband of 20 years cannot join her in the Tyne Valley, where she has moved with their 12-year-old daughter Betsy.

Rachel wanted to move her family from Canada in order to be close to her 82-year-old mother, but the judge’s decision means the family has been separated for over a year.

But the public has rallied behind her petition, entitled reunite my family, which grew from just under 2,000 signatures to more than 40,000 overnight last Wednesday.

The figure currently sits at more than 84,000.

Rachel said: “I can’t believe it, I’ve been absolutely blown away.

“I posted it on Facebook on Wednesday to say we needed a few more to reach 1,600 and then it was over 40,000.

“I don’t know if it will help. I just need my husband and my daughter needs her father.”

The family have now appealed against the judge’s decision, but Rachel is concerned this could take months.

She added: “The appeal takes months and money, which isn’t something we have.”