The family of a 5-year-old girl who was killed after being hit down by a car on her way home from school have been forced to postpone her funeral because her grandparents have been denied temporary visas to the UK.
Andrea Gada was walking home from school in Eastbourne, East Sussex, with her father, Wellington Gada, and stepped out into the road when she was struck by a car on 16 December 2014.
Local people rallied to help ensure that the young girl’s grandparents would be financially able to attend the funeral, raising £5,000 to fund their flights from Zimbabwe to England.
However, a major blow was delivered to the victim’s loved ones when the Home Office denied the deceased girl’s grandparents and aunt’s visa applications, stating that they were “not satisfied” that the Zimbabwean relatives “have demonstrated that this will be a simple visit of three months or that [their] intentions are genuine in wishing to travel to the United Kingdom.”
Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, has spoken out against what he perceives to be “the callousness shown by the Home Office” in their refusal to allow the relatives of Miss Gada to pay their final respects to their loved one.
Mr Lloyd said: “'I was dismayed […] 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.” He added, “'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.”
Mr Lloyd has also written to the Home Office, appealing to them to reconsider their decision.
The victim’s mother, Charity Gada, has described how much further pain has been caused by the Home Office’s decision not to allow her daughter’s relatives to come to the UK to attend her funeral. “This situation is adding more stress to what we are going through already,” said the mother, who has had to postpone her daughter’s funeral. She continued, “As a mum, I understand the relationship between mother and daughter. For me to bury my daughter without my mum next to me, I feel that my daughter will not get the respect she deserves and I won’t have a full closure.”