SUPPORT for a family of Chechen asylum seekers is growing.

Some 130 Adver readers have filled in a form printed in the paper urging the Home Office to let the Eltuyev's stay.

And a residents' petition backing Islan, Zarina and their three young children has passed the 1,000 mark.

For Zarina, 27, the response has been overwhelming.

She said: "When the paper first printed the forms for people to fill in we were scared no one would do it.

"We didn't think you would get any back.

"Of course I am pleased and really surprised at the response.

"Hopefully it will help but even if it doesn't it's amazing how good people have been."

The family fled torture in Chechnya to come to Swindon in May 2003. Last week we revealed how an Adver poll showed 85 per cent of more than 1,100 people who voted wanted them to stay.

With Islan doing volunteer work with young boxers, including Swindon's Commonwealth gold medallist Jamie Cox, the family have become part of the community.

But their asylum application was rejected, because they say Islan, 39, did not tell the authorities about everything that had happened to him.

In spite of intervention from North Swindon MP Michael Wills after two attempted appeals, the Home Office said that they could be removed by force at any time.

Boxing promoter Keith Mayo, who has been organising a petition to keep them here, said: "We've still got people coming and signing the petition.

"I speak to Islan every day and he's very, very grateful of the support he has received from people in the town."

Labour MP for North Swindon Michael Wills has contacted the new immigration minister Liam Byrne who took over from Tony McNulty earlier this month and Keith is planning to do the same.

"We will show him the petition and all the slips from the paper and hopefully it might persuade him to let them stay," he said.

"Hopefully he will see that they have become a valuable part of the community and the people here want them to stay."

Anyone who wants to sign the petition can do so at the Manor pub, in Cheney Manor Road or Greenbridge MOT centre.