The funeral of five-year-old Andrea Gada has been postponed after her grandparents were refused a visa.
Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said he was ‘angry’ at the ‘callousness’ of the Home Office in refusing the visas for the grief-stricken family.
Andrea’s funeral was due to take place Friday (January 9) after the Eastbourne public raised more than £5,000 to support the family, and help fly family members over from Zimbabwe to pay their final respects.
However, when Andrea’s parents, Mr and Mrs Gada, applied for a visa for their relatives to attend, the request was denied.
Mr Lloyd said, “This awful accident has shocked us all. Eastbourne has done what it does best in difficult situations like this and rallied around in support as a community. I was dismayed therefore to discover that the Immigration Services have refused point blank to issue visas for the family to come over from Zimbabwe to attend little Andrea’s funeral. This is despite Mr and Mrs Gada giving me a categorical assurance the grandparents and aunt would be returning home soon after paying their respects.
“I am extremely angry at the callousness shown by the Home Office. To me this is an immigration decision which lacks compassion and basic decency; attributes which I know are front and centre with the vast majority of British people. I have written a further urgent letter to the Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire MP, asking that he intervene and reconsider his officials’ decision. A young girl has died tragically.
“My constituents have rallied round superbly so the devastated mother and father can bring her parents from Zimbabwe to help support them at this immensely difficult time. 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 passed away three weeks ago, on Wednesday, December 17, after being hit by a car on Friday Street the day before. She was flown to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, but died of her injuries.
Andrea’s funeral service was set to take place on Friday (January 9) at Seventh-day Adventist Church, Hailsham Road, Polegate at 11.30am.