Stefania's Memorial Fund

£7,398 of £8,000 goal

Raised by 447 people in 13 days
Forest Hill is slowly coming to terms with the news that our much loved friend Stefania has died suddenly.

From helping to carry buggies on the stairs near where she used to sit in the station underpass to always giving a smile and a kind word to passers-by, Stefania brightened up our community. She was always so nice to everyone even though no-one could have judged her had she not been, and that is reflected in the large number of people that are mourning her loss. Stefania also leaves behind a son and a daughter who did not join her in the  UK.

Many of us will have tried to help Stefania, as someone who was homeless, in our own way. But despite that, we are confronted with what seems - based on current information - to have been a needless, premature death. 

Like many others we wanted to remember Stefania by making a donation so we have set up this page, with the support of Rev. Edd Stock from the Holy Trinity Church. 

How donations will be used

1. Up to £4000: To ensure that Stefania has a service as well as something special - like a floral tribute - from us as a community.* Updated 11th July: Rev Edd, with support from local Italian speakers, has been liaising with Stefania's family in Italy. Unfortunately Stefani's family are not able to pay for the costs of the funeral themselves, so we will be paying for this from the fund as we thought may be the case.  An all faiths and none memorial service will be held at 10am Sat July 20th, at Sydenham School, Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill (see the update for more info), followed by a Catholic cremation at a date tbc - as smaller venue priority will be to her family. We will provide evidence of the costs via an update before withdrawing any money, until which point it is held by Go Fund Me. Volunteer to help with Stefania's memorial service before hand and on the day are very much welcome - please get in touch! 

2. £4000+ As a community we want to make sure we do what we can to prevent this from happening again to another cherished neighbour and friend. We are hoping that after the above we will have enough funds left to establish a memorial fund that can be used to help a long-term Forest Hill resident like Stefania in the future to have a fresh start. We will liaise with local charities about the best way to do this. If we are not able to do this then donations will be given to a local homeless shelter used by Stefania. Go Fund Me will hold all money until then. Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved. 

Love from Clare and Matt, Sunderland Road Forest Hill London SE23 x.

~ Photo credit: Martin Masai Andersen and Lowly ~

*This was edited on Sat 6th July to clarify that we will use funds to ensure that there is a memorial service at which we can remember Stefania, if no-one else is able to do this.

Edited Mon 8th July to add a bit more about us as per Go Fund Me requirements which we have been emailed and asked to add: 

Clare Lorraine Phipps: I am a disabled social activist and freelance researcher. I am the former Chair the Executive Committee of the England and Wales Green Party. I took the government to court over the ban on disabled people like me standing as an MP as a job share. My family first moved to Forest Hill before WW1 and ran a business which installed electricity in many of the homes here. Their loyalties are split between Crystal Palace and Millwall FC. 

Matt Hawkins: Is a campaign and communications specialist. He was part of a team who won a Big Campaign Award for their viral election broadcast "The Not So Secret Life of Politicians", and shared the honour of being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace along with the rest of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). He is the Co-Founder of Compassion in Politics. 

We got a civil partnership in the Isle of Man in 2017 and were both part of the team that helped changed the law, coming in this December, to allow mixed gender couples get a civil partnerships in the UK too. We have lived together with our 2 house rabbits in Forest Hill since 2013. 

We live just down the hill from where Stefani used to sit under the subway, and like so many people here we loved saying hello to her and stopping to chat. We never knew what best to do to help our friend beyond helping with requests for toileteries, food or a cigarette, and we were devastated to hear her life had been cut short. We wanted to do something to remember her so decided to set up this fundraiser. 

With thanks especially to the following for their support in sharing: 
- Rev. Edd Stock, Holy Trinity Church Forest Hill & Sydenham
- SE23.life
- Forest Hill Society
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Memorial service: Click "going" on the event on facebook if you have it & are joining us this Sat 10am Sydenham School Dartmouth Rd tinyurl.com/stefaniasmemorial

Resending as GoFundMe's summary truncated the link
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Memorial service: Please click "going" on the event on facebook if you have it & are joining us this Sat 10am Sydenham School Dartmouth Rd http://tinyurl.com/stefaniasmemorial

A big thank you to everyone who has donated or is helping out on Saturday in anyway. A reminder that if you are able to contribute to the memorial service for Stefania please join the facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/416461468960000/ Pauline Wright of Sugar Mountain, formerly Dartmouth Road, is very kindly co-ordinating on the day.

I also wanted to pass on that as news of Stefania's death has spread in her family, they have come together and decided to repatriate Stefania so that she can be buried in Italy. As our most recent estimates were that we would be spending £3000 on her cremation here, we have offered instead to put this towards repatriation costs to help her family fulfil their wishes despite their financial constraints. . We will also be arranging to make sure there are flowers on behalf of the community at her funeral service in Italy when we know when this will be. Remaining funds will, as stated on the page, be put towards helping local homeless people in Stefania's memory. Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved in this.

We hope you understand that these changes can happen, especially in the case of sudden deaths and where families are spread across the world. It does of course make Saturday our sole opportunity in Forest Hill to say our goodbyes to Stefania together, so we hope lots of you will be joining us.

With love,

Clare x
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Stefania's memorial service: Sat 20th July 10am, Sydenham School, Dartmouth Rd. Can you volunteer on the day? Does your business have something it could donate?

Thanks to your generosity, we are pleased to let you know that there will be a service to commemorate and celebrate the life of our friend Stefania.

*About the Service*

Sydenham School have kindly allowed us to use their space for the memorial as one of the few spaces locally which can accommodate the potential numbers we anticipate will want to join us.

The service will be led by Rev. Edd Stock, Holy Trinity Church, along with other churches and members of the community as well as Stefania's loved ones in the UK. However, it is very much for people of all faiths and none who want to remember Stefania.

*Can you help?*

Many thanks for the incredible generosity of everyone who has been able to contribute to the Go Fund Me. We are hoping that after Stefania's memorial service/funeral have been paid for, we will still have funds left to help people in Stefania's position in the future. Please continue to share the Go Fund Me so we can ensure we can do something in her memory. And get in touch if you want to be involved.

There are still lots of things we need: people to help on the day, support with printing booklets, publicity, music, refreshments. Can you help? Are you a local business that can help with something? Please message us if you have something specific to offer, or join this group of volunteers:


*Getting there*

- Sydenham School is on Dartmouth Road, SE26 4RD. Please don't go to the wrong school!
- 10 mins walk from the centre of Forest Hill/Forest Hill train station
- Bus stops right outside the school (176/197/122): Sydenham School/Police station

- There is space for parking at the school (please reserve this for those who are less able to walk/cycle or use public transport)
- The venue is accessible for wheelchair users
- Please let us know if you have other accessibility requirements (e.g. require a BSL translator)

Stefania's cremation will be held after the service, date tbc, the venue for which is smaller, so her family will be the priority.
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Thanks for your patience: we'll share details of Stefania's memorial service/funeral as soon as we have them. For now: do you know a 300+ person venue in Forest Hill?

Just a quick update as many people have been asking when a funeral will be held. Unfortunately we will need to wait a little longer to see if there needs to be a post mortem etc for example before a fixed date can be agreed. We should have more info this Friday, and Rev. Edd from Holy Trinity is hopeful we will be able to hold a service this month. When we have details they will be shared here, as well as with local newspapers. We will also put up notices in the underpass. We all want to be able to come together to remember our friend.

What we do know:
- is that her Mum is in communication with Edd, with the help of kind translators
- She has requested that Stefani be cremated and have a funeral service here, which they will fly over for

Unfortunately Stefani's family are not able to pay for the costs of the funeral themselves, so we will be paying for this from the fund as we thought may be the case.

We will be asking for people to help with organisation soon. In the meantime if you know a low cost venue in Forest Hill that could hold 300+ people for a memorial service, please message.

Please do keep sharing so that we can give Stefani a special send off and still have funds to help others in her memory. Your generosity has blown everyone away, but knowing Stefani we shouldn't be suprised really.

I'll leave you with an image of the rapidly growing tributes in the underpass.

Love Clare x
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£7,398 of £8,000 goal

Raised by 447 people in 13 days
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