Visa row family spend Christmas together

This Christmas will be the first that former soldier Darren Jarrad can spend with his wife and young daughter in Norfolk and not be worried at the prospect of having to part and fly thousands of miles away from them.

Mr Jarrad, 29, a former soldier from Felmingham, near North Walsham, was forced to live apart from his Canadian wife Chantel, 25, and three-year-old daughter Shyanne because of a visa wrangle, which was only settled in March this year.

Although they have been able to visit each other during the festive season before, this year will be the first time they will not have to part straight away after Christmas.

Mr Jarrad, who now works for a floor restoration company, said: 'It is really weird to think Shyanne and Chantel are still going to be here after Christmas; I do not think it has sunk in.'

This year the couple will be spending a traditional Christmas in Felmingham and then, on January 12, will fly out together to visit Chantel's family in Canada.

Mrs Jarrad has now started work as a care worker at specialist Wroxham care home, Keys Hill Park, after managing director Dennis Bacon heard of the couple's plight. He interviewed Mrs Jarrad on an internet link across the Atlantic and offered her a job.

Shyanne has also started at a local nursery school in Worstead, and has developed an English accent according to her mum.

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Mrs Jarrad said: 'We have settled in okay; we are taking things very much one day at a time.

'Shyanne is also enjoying being able to see her dad every day and she has even got an English accent now.

'We have been together at Christmas before, but it is going to make a change from having to say goodbye at the end and being apart again.'

The couple met in 2006 while Mr Jarrad was on a training exercise in Canada as an infantryman with the Royal Anglians. Their daughter was born in 2007 and the couple married in April 2009.

The dispute with immigration officials saw the family having to make a second visa application after the first was turned down.

The second application was granted, thanks to help from both north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and county councillor Paul Rice and an appeal to raise funds for it.

The family were finally reunited and settled down to start a new life together in the Felmingham home Mr Jarrad shares with his father Kevin.

The couple say their next step is to get a home of their own.

Mr Jarrad added: 'Everything is going really well, we are just happy to be all together.'