Andrea Gada funeral takes place after visa row delay

Coffin of Andrea Gada
Image caption Mourners had been asked to dress in pink and white for the funeral

The funeral of a five-year-old girl who died after she was hit by a car has been held following weeks of delays caused by a wrangle over family visas.

Andrea Gada died after the crash in Eastbourne, on 17 December.

Her funeral was postponed in the hope her grandparents and aunt from Zimbabwe could attend, but the Home Office refused temporary visas twice.

Her relatives were finally granted temporary visas "on compassionate grounds" earlier this month.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Charity Gada (centre) told the BBC she wanted the perfect funeral for her daughter
Image copyright PA
Image caption Mourners sang songs as the coffin arrived at the church and was carried into the building
Image copyright Gada family
Image caption Andrea's funeral was delayed while her parents fought for their relatives to be allowed to come to the UK

Scores of people attended her funeral at Kings Church in Hampden Park, Eastbourne, earlier.

'Perfect funeral'

Mourners dressed in pink and white followed the coffin, which was also pink, as it was taken to the church in a horse-drawn hearse.

They also sang songs when the pall bearers carried it inside.

"The main aim is to have a perfect funeral for Andrea because that's the only final thing that we can do for her," said Charity Gada, Andrea's mother, before the ceremony.

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Aunt Mona Lisa Faith (left) and grandparents Grace and Stanley Bwanya twice had visa requests rejected

The Home Office said it initially rejected the visas because there were concerns Andrea's aunt Mona Lisa Faith and grandparents Grace and Stanley Bwanya might try and stay here permanently.

'Pain unbearable'

That decision was reversed after Prime Minister David Cameron intervened and new visa applications were submitted with the help of Eastbourne's Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd.

Mr Cameron wrote to the family to say he had asked the home secretary to look into their case, after a 120,000-signature petition supporting their plight was handed in to Downing Street.

Following the decision, Andrea's father, Wellington Gada told the BBC: "The pain is just unbearable.

"My wish would be if something could be changed when there are circumstances like this one and for no-one to have to go through the same thing."

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