Funeral after family granted visas

Published: Wednesday 18th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The funeral of five-year-old Andrea Gada, who was killed in a car accident, is to take place two months after her death.

Her family had postponed the service while they fought for their Zimbabwean relatives to gain visas to attend the funeral in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Andrea’s parents, Wellington, 38, and Charity, 32, began planning their daughter’s funeral after learning earlier this month that the UK Government would allow her maternal grandparents and aunt to travel over from Africa.

The service will take place at Kings Church in Hampden Park, Eastbourne, today, and the family has asked that mourners wear pink and white.

Andrea died after being hit by a car in Eastbourne on December 17 but her funeral was postponed due to uncertainty over whether her relatives would gain permission to travel to the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron intervened in the case, personally writing to the girl’s parents to say he had asked Home Secretary Theresa May to look into the issue.

Mr Cameron said he knew “the struggle of losing a child first-hand” and that in time they would “find strength in the memory of the happier times” they shared with Andrea.

Andrea’s maternal grandparents, retired street trader Stanley Bwanya, 65, and Grace, 57, and aunt, Monalisa Faith, 21, were denied access to the UK by the Home Office in January.

The decision was later upheld amid concerns that they might abscond, despite the family offering to wear electronic tags and report to the local police station, and prompted an e-petition signed by more than 120,000 people calling for the visas to be granted.

Mrs Gada also pleaded for her relatives to be allowed in to the UK, and said: “Losing a child is one of the hardest things a person can experience, and at this time myself and my husband are both longing for the support of our family.

“Having our family together at this time is incredibly important to us, and an important part of our culture.

“Andrea was a wonderful little girl and she deserves a proper farewell. At the heart of it, all I really want is to have my mother at my side whilst I grieve the loss of my child.”

Immigration and security minister James Brokenshire said the family were eventually granted visas after providing new information and assurances in fresh applications to enable approval to be given.

Eastbourne Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd, who said he would act as a guarantor to ensure that the relatives returned to Zimbabwe after the funeral, hailed the decision to grant temporary visas as “stunning news”.

Mrs Gada, who claimed her relatives posed no risk to the UK and simply wanted to travel over to support them and grieve for Andrea, said the support her family had received locally had been fantastic.

Published: Wednesday 18th February 2015 by The News Editor

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