Back together at last

Ralph Leadbetter with his wife Evi, children Harry and Malika and their dog Bella. Ref shs 5720-31-

Ralph Leadbetter with his wife Evi, children Harry and Malika and their dog Bella. Ref shs 5720-31-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Dad-of-two Ralph Leadbetter has been waiting for this family photo for almost a year because of a long-running immigration battle.

“Together at last,” were the words of Ralph, 46, after he collected his wife Evi and two children, Harry and Malika, from Gatwick Airport on Saturday, before bringing them to their new home in Sidford.

The dad-of-two succeeded in his long-term fight to secure entry to the UK for his Indonesian spouse and their two children by borrowing more than £30,000 from relatives.

Ralph said: “It was better than I could ever imagine. My face was like a Cheshire cat when they came through the doors.

“There was Evi and Harry was pushing Malika in the chair, together at last.”

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However. the Leadbetters’ struggle is not over, as Evi’s marriage and spouse visa will run out after 33 months, meaning she will have to return back to Indonesia alone.

Ralph said: “Come January 2018, you cannot expect a woman to walk away from her children wherever she is from.

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“With some luck, in two-and-a-half years it may change - but it was a Conservative government that put these rules in place.

“But let’s just enjoy it while we can and see if something will be done.”

The family is now enjoying the summer holidays before Harry starts at Sidbury Primary School in September.

The six-year-old has been enjoying taking the family dog Bella for walks with his dad and doing ‘boys’ stuff’.

Ralph, who is a hotel supervisor, has taken a fortnight off from work to show his family the sights, including FolkWeek, and so they can meet relatives who helped them come to the UK.

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