Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has offered to act as a guarantor, after the Home Office denied visas for the grieving family of Andrea Gada.
Five-year-old Andrea, of Shinewater Primary School, died on December 17 following a road accident on Friday Street.
Since then, her family has been inundated with support from residents, who helped raise more than £5,000 for funeral costs and transportation for the child’s grandparents and aunt to fly over from Zimbabwe for the funeral.
Andrea’s parents, Wellington and Charity Gada, applied for visas for their relatives to attend, but the request was denied because the Home Office said it believed they would abscond.
This meant Andrea’s funeral, which was due to take place on Friday January 9, has been postponed. Mr Lloyd said the Home Office was ‘callous’ and wrote to the immigration minister James Brokenshire, asking him to overturn the decision. This was denied, but Mr Lloyd has now said he will act as a guarantor for the family, and failing that, he will take the case to Prime Minister’s Questions.
My Lloyd said, “The response I have received to my letter from Mr Brokenshire reconfirmed the Home Office’s decision, which centred around their concern that the family would not return to Zimbabwe following the funeral.
“Following that I have replied to the minister expressing my disappointment at his decision, and adding that, to allow the relatives the dignity their grandchild’s funeral, I will personally guarantee their act as a guarantor that the grandparents and aunt return to Zimbabwe after paying their respects.
“For the sake of everything that is good about our country – its tolerance, compassion, strong support of family, and profound sense of shared community, exemplified by the way in which Eastbourne has pulled together to help the Gadas, I implore the minister to do the right thing; grant this grief-stricken family the temporary travel visas, and allow their kith and kin to pay their last respects to little Andrea.”
Andrea’s parents Wellington and Charity, of Downland Close, said the visa issues made it a ‘double tragedy’ for them.