A GRIEVING American widow who feared she'd lose her home just weeks after the death of her beloved husband has been told she can stay in Greenock.

Carol Cockburn, 59, was left devastated by the sudden death of her dear husband Jim in November.

After Jim passed away, Carol was adamant that she wanted to stay here.

She faced uncertainty as she had to apply for indefinite 'leave to remain status' from the Home Office.

Before she could even start the application process, Carol first had to prove that she had a permanent residence here.

Now her wish has come true.

Housing association River Clyde Homes contacted Carol to let her know that she can succeed the tenancy and stay on in the flat she and Jim shared in Whinhill Court.

Carol says the news is an amazing start to the new year.

She said: "It's a huge weight off my shoulders.

"I've now started the 'leave to remain' application, which has to go to Westminster.

"The process is far from being finished but at least I know I have a home now.

"I couldn't afford to move but I don't have to think about that now."

Carol and Jim married in the US in 2012 and the couple lived together for six months of the year every year.

Following Jim's death, the Inverclyde community raised more than £2,000 via JustGiving to help Carol out.

She considered using the money to apply for a Visa or to go back to Florida - but she really wanted to remain in Scotland.

She admits the festive season was tough but says she's happy that she is where Jim wanted the couple to be.

Carol added: "It was a really difficult time but I'm so pleased that I'm doing what Jim wanted, even though he can't be here with me.

"It's easy enough to prove that we were a couple and that we lived here together, so I'm hopeful my status will be confirmed."

Carol has lived all over the world - but she says her heart lies in Inverclyde.

She said: "I just want to thank everyone so much for their support.

"They've no idea how much this means to me.

"I have wonderful neighbours and I know a lot of people here.

"My life is better for living in Greenock.

"I've lived a lot of places, but I've never felt as much love, support and acceptance as I do here.

"I'm really happy and proud to call Greenock my home."

The team at River Clyde Homes say they are happy that Carol is now settled in Inverclyde.

Elaine Cannon, service improvement manager at RCH, said: "We are pleased that Ms Cockburn is happy with the service she has received from River Clyde Homes and that the outcome is to her satisfaction.

"We hope she will continue to enjoy living at Whinhill Court and we wish her well."