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Zimbabwean grandparents denied funeral visa

30 January 2015


Imposing: Lunar House, in Croydon, the Home Office Immigration and Nationality directorate 

Imposing: Lunar House, in Croydon, the Home Office Immigration and Nationality directorate 

THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, and the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, have joined a growing campaign to allow the Zimbabwean grandparents of a five-year-old girl killed in a car crash to attend her funeral.

Andrea Gada was hit by a car and died near her home in Eastbourne in December. Her parents have been granted asylum in the UK, but her grandparents and aunt, who live in Zimbabwe, have twice been refused visas to visit on the grounds they might abscond and could not demonstrate a regular income.

Dr Sentamu has written to the Prime Minister, urging him to intervene to reverse the decision by the visa authorities. The Gadas's case was first raised by their MP, the Liberal Democrat Stephen Lloyd, and at his prompting the Prime Minister said that the decision would be reviewed.

Later, however, the Home Office decided again that the Gada grandparents and aunt would not be granted a temporary visa, despite the pair's offering to be monitored and Mr Lloyd's pledging personally to ensure they left the UK after their visas expire.

Now, Dr Warner has joined the chorus of condemnation. He said on Tuesday that the moral case for allowing the grandparents to come for the funeral was "overwhelming".

"Who would not want the grandparents of a little girl to be able to grieve at the death of their granddaughter?" he said. "I would be very dismayed if we were a nation who were so suspicious we had lost our moral decency."

Dr Warner said that he had also written to all the clergy in his diocese to ask them to email Mr Cameron on behalf of the Gadas.

A spokesman from the Home Office said: "All applications are considered on their individual merits . . . and in line with the immigration rules."

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