Sussex

Andrea Gada: No 10 petitioned over funeral visas

Andrea Gada Image copyright Gada family
Image caption The funeral of five-year-old Andrea Gada has been delayed

A petition signed by more than 93,000 people calling for a girl's family to be allowed into the UK for her funeral is being handed in at Downing Street.

Five-year-old Andrea Gada died after she was hit by a car in Eastbourne, East Sussex, on 16 December.

Her grandparents and aunt were refused visas to come to the UK from Zimbabwe.

The petition says the family "pose no risk to the country" and "they simply want to support us and grieve the loss of our beautiful girl".

Andrea's mother, Charity Gada, of Downland Close, Eastbourne, will be joined by family and friends when she delivers the petition to Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May later.

The matter was raised by local Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd during Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons on 14 January.

Image caption Charity and Wellington Gada were told the Home Office had reviewed the case but would not grant visas

The Prime Minister said he would intervene but the Home Office upheld its decision when it reviewed the family's application for a second time.

It said it had considered its "individual merits including any compelling and compassionate circumstances and in line with the immigration rules".

The petition was started by Mrs Gada, who said her family were "street sellers from Zimbabwe" and had been denied visas simply because they were "too poor", leading the Home Office to believe they wished to stay in the UK illegally.

Mrs Gada said her local community had helped raise money so her family could attend the funeral, and that they had offered to do anything in order to be there, including wearing electronic tags and reporting to a police station.

"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," she said.

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