Newly Weds To Be Reunited After Months Apart

Gavin and Gretchen McWilliam thank the Chiswick community for their support during the past months

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The Chiswick couple who found themselves forced to spend the first months of their married life on opposite sides of the planet after a family tragedy and an administrative cock-up are to be reunited.

Local landscape architect Gavin and Gretchen McWilliam got married on the 22nd March in New Zealand. Earlier in the year Gretchen's father had been diagnosed with bowel cancer so they arranged the wedding in her home country so that he could attend.

Gretchen had lived and worked in this country for the last nine years and has been working as a theatre sister at St John and Elizabeth’s Hospital where she was responsible for managing 5 theatres and 50 members of staff. In January of this year her application for renewal of her working visa was refused due to an administrative error by the hospital's HR department.

The couple applied for a spousal visa at the start of April engaging the services of an immigration lawyer to ensure that the forms were completed correctly and all requested documentation was provided. They received an e-mail from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) confirming receipt of their documents but informing them they were not to contact them again otherwise their application could be delayed.

"Well after nearly three months of waiting we finally got the call we've been waiting for!" Gavin told, "Gretchen's visa has at long last been approved so we are going to be reunited in a matter of days."

He added, "I would like to thank you for all your support and the support of the community whose kind words and signing of the petition gave us both a great lift.

"At last we can start enjoying our married lives together."

June 22, 2010