A BRADFORD woman is among 400 Britons in Peru desperately trying to get home, one of a number of stranded Bradfordians stuck abroad.

Among the estimated million Britons around the world still waiting for a flight home is diner owner Ibrahim Sadiq who has received support since the T&A publicised his plight.

Becky Smedley, 33, from Cottingley, was due to fly home from Peru on Tuesday. She said: “My flights were cancelled, with the country going into lockdown; I then found the embassy closed, and later that day was informed by hotel staff that I was no longer allowed to leave the building.

“Since then me and four other stranded international tourists have been living inside the hotel, with no idea when we can get home.

“I can’t contact my airline - my dad’s trying desperately at home too - and the only offers from the embassy (who incidentally have leaked all our email addresses to each other and tour operators) are currently a £3,000 one way flight from a Colombian airline and a £2,000 from Saga.”


Becky, an operations manager at Leeds Beckett University, travelled to South America on an organised trip. The tour operator had encouraged her to continue with her plans and travelling out in early March was fine.

The Embassy in Lima says it is working closely with the Peruvian authorities and commercial airlines on all possible options for a return to the UK for British nationals who may number as many as 400.

Outgoing flights are secured through diplomatic permissions, which exempt them from the State of Emergency lockdown.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in Parliament on Thursday that Peru was one of the countries it was “very difficult” for people to leave.

He told the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee: “The challenge there is to make sure, first of all, the governments of those countries keep a route so British nationals can get out.”

Mr Raab said there were between 300,000 and “closer to a million” British nationals travelling abroad.

“That is a massive, massive scale,” he admitted.

Ibrahim Sadiq, from Manningham, who runs Iby’s Diner on Leeds Road, said he had had “got hundreds of messages” since the T&A story.

Mr Sadiq said: “I would like to say I’ve had lots of calls and messages from people of Bradford offering lots support and offering money and their contacts in Madina where we currently are including the youths asking if they could help or support our families at home in any way.

“I’ve had messages on my Snapchat, Facebook from lots of people. Personally I’m not surprised Bradford is one of the most generous and caring communities from what I’ve seen."

Mr Sadiq said he was in the country with his father-in-law and his two brothers. “Also we met other British citizens that we have shared contact details with in case of any emergency or help. We could help each other.”

He said he and his relatives had visited Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage made by Muslims to Mecca, which may be performed at any time of the year.

“We are currently in second holiest city in Islam, after Mecca. Madina is celebrated as the place from which Muhammad established the Muslim community (ummah) after his flight from Mecca and is where his mosque is and where he is also buried.

“It’s also a big blessing to be here. We are always in prayer for the people in Bradford and the whole world for protection from this spread of coronavirus and other calamities.

“The same time we have commitments and duties at home. Which is why we really need to get home."

“We are not currently locked in anywhere but have a feeling for a strict lockdown coming soon.”

He said in their hotel, the Pullman Zamzam, there were just four out of 850 rooms vacant. “They have been very supportive and give us massive discounts. Free upgrades to mosque view suites.

“They are no flights going back to UK as we getting told and three times we had cancellations. We make a trip to the travel agents daily.”

He said he had contacted his MP Naz Shah but “unfortunately there is nothing they can do to assist other than toward the contact details to the British embassy”.

Mr Raab told the committee the Government was asking airlines to operate flights on routes they did not normally serve, which “takes some configuring”.

He said any spare seats on rescue flights would be offered to other countries trying to bring their citizens home.

He explained: “We also want to be able to pick up the phone and say ‘By the way, if you have any spare room can you help get the Brits out?’”