‘Cautious optimism’ for visas ahead of Andrea Gada’s funeral

Andrea Gada's parents with Stephen Lloyd and supporters at Downing Street
Andrea Gada's parents with Stephen Lloyd and supporters at Downing Street

The Home Office has asked the relatives of Andrea Gada to reapply for visas, demonstrating ‘a little bit of movement’ in the visa row.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said the latest move by government should be treated with ‘cautious optimism’.

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The Gadas asked for temporary visas for three members of their family, so they could attend five-year-old Andrea Gada’s funeral in Eastbourne.

She died on December 17, after a road accident in Friday Street, and her funeral was scheduled for January 9.

However this was postponed after the Home Office refused the visas for the relatives in Zimbabwe twice.

Since then, the Gada family said they have received a letter from the Prime Minister following their visit to Downing Street last week, when they handed over a 95,000 signature petition.

Andrea Gada’s mother Charity write on the campaign page, which now has almost 130,000 supporters, and said, “This morning we got a personal reply from the Prime Minister. He said he has asked the Home Secretary to look into the matter. Last week we were also advised to submit a new visa application, which we have done.

“Andrea’s funeral is scheduled for Monday and if my parents are granted visas before the weekend, they will be able to attend.

“We are praying and hoping that this will happen.

“I want to thank you so much for your support.”

Now, the Home Office has now been in touch with the family in Eastbourne asking their family in Zimbabwe to reapply for temporary travel permits.

Stephen Lloyd said, “What does this all mean? I think it is grounds for cautious optimism. As soon as I hear further I’ll let the town know.”

Andrea’s funeral was set to take place on Friday January 9, but was postponed because of the visa problems.

The Home Office refused the visas after concerns the family could not support themselves, and feared they would abscond.

But Wellington and Charity Gada, Andrea’s parents, said they would be happy to pay for their relatives to be electronically tagged if it would satisfy border officials. Mr Lloyd also offered to act as guarantor.

Since the second visa refusal, tens of thousands of people got behind the Gadas by signing the petition, and the Bishops of Chichester and York also backed the family.

This comes after the Eastbourne community raised more than £5,000 to help the family with funeral costs and for flights for their relatives.