Royal baby footman in a sweat over visa

Badar Azim helps Ailsa Anderson place the baby notice on the easel
Badar Azim helps Ailsa Anderson place the baby notice on the easel
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A BUCKINGHAM Palace footman who helped announce the birth of Prince George is waiting to learn if his visa will be renewed.

Former Napier University student Badar Azim, a 25-year-old hospitality management graduate who grew up in a 
Calcutta slum, played a starring role in telling the world about the new royal baby.

Pictures of him helping Ailsa Anderson, the Queen’s press secretary, place the official notice on an ornate easel were used in publications across the globe.

But the palace footman, who has been working in the Queen’s royal household since last year, is trying to renew his visa which expires in October.

Badar graduated from Napier in June 2011 thanks to financial help from St Mary’s Orphanage and Day school in Calcutta, where he studied as a boy.

The footman’s father, Mohammed Rahim, a 52-year-old welder, and his 41-year-old mother Mumtaz Begum, still live in the same Calcutta home.

Badar lived with his parents and two younger brothers in a small rented house with just one room in Calcutta until moving to Edinburgh to finish his degree in September 2010.

His flight from poverty in India was made possible thanks to a sponsorship scheme between the university and the St Mary’s Orphanage and Day School in Calcutta.

The orphanage offered Badar a place to study – free of charge – before raising funds for him to complete the first two years of his degree. To show his appreciation, he took part in a sponsored ten-mile charity walk from Strathyre to Callander with at least 40 other Napier students in April 2011.

Speaking to the Evening News at the time, he said: “The orphanage literally helps transform the lives of hundreds of children each year.

“If I didn’t go to St Mary’s, I would have been working somewhere on the streets of Calcutta. It would have been very difficult to get a job in India because unless you have got a good degree, you will not get a good job and good ­salary.”

Badar, who lived in student accommodation in Tollcross, added: “The living conditions are very different from what I lived like in India. We only had one bed in our house in India so my younger brothers and mother used to be in the bed, and my father and I used to sleep on the ground.”

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on his visa issue and a Home Office spokesman said they did not comment on individual cases.

However speaking generally, the spokesman said: “Each application is looked at and judged on its own merits.”