Acclaimed British cellist has passport cancelled by Home Office

·2 min read

A British cellist who was the first black winner of the BBC Young Musician award in 2016 and played at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan has had his passport cancelled by the Home Office.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 22, who was born and raised in Nottingham and appeared alongside his siblings on ITV’s variety show Britain’s Got Talent in 2015, sent off his British passport as part of an application for an additional passport to assist with applications for visas and international work permits.

Kanneh-Mason, whose father is Antiguan and mother is from Sierra Leone, wrote on Facebook: “Applied for an additional British passport with the approval of Home Office to assist with applications for visas and international work permits in this post #Brexit #Covid world along with my sister, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason.

“Appointments 15 mins apart, identical paperwork submitted. She receives original passport and second one within a week. Mine comes back cancelled 10 June (expiry 2029).

“Since then, despite constant calls I have NO explanation, NO forthcoming assistance and NO way of playing the engagements I am contracted to play. Ideas appreciated asap.”

Watch: Investigation after Border Force enters French waters to pick up migrants

After being contacted by the Guardian, the Home Office said it had been an error and pledged to issue a replacement as soon as possible.

Kanneh-Mason was the subject of a BBC Four documentary entitled Young, Gifted and Classical: The Making of a Maestro in November 2016.

He signed a major recording contract with the music label Decca Classics the same month.

It was reported in February 2018 that Kanneh-Mason’s album Inspiration had been “the biggest-selling British debut of the year to date”, entering the UK albums chart at number 18, had become No 1 on the UK classical albums chart and achieved 2.5m streams on Spotify.

He has won the classical category of the South Bank Sky Arts awards, the Male Artist of the Year and the Critics’ Choice award at the Classic Brit awards, and was made an MBE in the 2020 New Year honours for services to music.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are in contact with Mr Kanneh-Mason to resolve this situation and apologise for any inconvenience caused. A replacement passport will be issued as soon as possible.”

Watch: Priti Patel vows reform of ‘broken’ immigration system