Help Jimmy Thoronka
£32,825 of £20,000 goal
New donation page: https://www.gofundme.com/supportjimmythoronka
Update May, 2018: Jimmy has been given the leave to remain in the UK after winning his three year legal battle!
Sierra Leone’s top sprinter, who vanished after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last summer, has been released after his arrest when he was found in an emaciated state, living rough on the streets of London.
Jimmy Thoronka, who vanished after Commonwealth Games, says he can’t go home because Ebola has wiped out his family
Daily Mail confirm Jimmy's story
BBC. The Washington Post. Irish Mirror. The Independent.
From the original The Guardian article :
"Jimmy Thoronka, 20, his country’s number one 100m sprinter, and tipped by some for a big sporting career, disappeared at the end of the Games last August. Along with several other athletes he failed to return to Sierra Leone, and until now his whereabouts had been unclear. But speaking to the Guardian he has described what has happened to him since he vanished.
The homeless youngester also revealed his feelings at discovering the devastation Ebola has wreaked on his family back home, who had adopted him after the death of his birth parents. “I was very excited to be coming to the Games in Glasgow,” he said.
“I saw it as my big chance. I had competed in international competitions before, in Singapore and the Isle of Man, but this was the big one for me.” When he and his team mates left Sierra Leone for Glasgow, some Ebola cases had been confirmed in a few of the villages surrounding Freetown, but the epidemic had not yet taken hold of the capital. The death toll in the country is now more than 3,500 cases.
Thoronka said: “I was hoping to win a medal for my country. But during the Games I got the terrible news that my uncle had died, probably from Ebola. I couldn’t stop crying. It was difficult to continue with competing but I tried to carry on.” Thoronka competed in one 4x100m relay at the games, but failed to win any medals. He was making times of 10.58 seconds for the 100m sprint before the competition."
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/helpjimmyt
About the crowd fund
My name is Richard Dent. I am a PhD student at University of Cambridge. My PhD is about social networking and it's potential to help those in poverty. You can find me on Twitter here:
Hash tag: #helpjimmyt
Getting the funds to Jimmy
I've spoken to The Guardian journalist Diane Taylor who wrote the article and we are in discussion about the best way to get Jimmy the funds. I will be as transparent as possible about this process in the updates.
Jimmy's legal status in the UK
Jimmy has broken his visa by staying in the UK. For the record I want this fund to support Jimmy regardless of the legal outcome. These funds are for Jimmy if he stays or if he is deported.
He wants to continue his career in athletics - let's support his dream!
After three long years, Jimmy has been given leave to remain in the UK. This means he can stay in the UK without the threat of deportation. See the news link at the bottom of the message for the details.
A huge thank you to everyone who donated. Your support was essential. It paid for the legal fees and towards Jimmy's living and training costs.
Jimmy's long time supporter Emma Sinclair has set up a GoFundMe page to help Jimmy get started on his education in earnest and continue his athletics training. Please support if you can, it would really help as Jimmy doesn't want to claim government welfare or benefits.
New GoFundMe page:
Article about Jimmy's case:
Long-time no update! Apologies for not sending more frequent updates. A couple of reasons for this. Firstly, I was advised by Jimmy’s solicitors not to publish details about Jimmy as his legal case is still ongoing. Secondly, my commitment to support Jimmy became increasingly more difficult to sustain in 2016 and especially this year.
The trustees of the Jimmy Thoronka Foundation, managed by PWW Solicitors, now believe that closing the Foundation is the best way to manage your donations to Jimmy. The amount left in the trust is running low and we cannot afford to incur more legal fees. The remaining funds will go directly to Jimmy via his most trusted supporters.
For full transparency, it cost just under £9,000 (Inc. VAT) in legal fees to run the Foundation for nearly two years. PWW contributed an additional £3,000 in pro bono time. All my work has been unpaid from the beginning. The final figure was higher than I expected. We faced many challenges supporting Jimmy and I decided to play it safe and have solicitors manage affairs. My key objective was to ensure the funds were spent correctly and in good time. A quick and professional response was often required to address the many issues that arose. PWW did a great job in that regard. I raised another £2,000 for Jimmy outside the Foundation to offset the legal costs somewhat.
I believe the Foundation succeeded in achieving the core mission to support Jimmy with his training, education and legal needs and I’m proud of everyone who has contributed. Especially Jimmy for going beyond my expectations (more on that in future updates).
I have more updates planned over the coming weeks and months.
Thanks again for donating to Jimmy.
PS. If you wish to donate again, all funds will now go directly to Jimmy’s trusted supporters.
"I am doing fine. Training with the UEL university athletics team at the moment. Although I am not doing much because of a hamstring injury. I have also finished my ECDL course at the university."
No news about Jimmy's current legal case I'm afriad. We continue to wait and hope.
A few weeks ago Jimmy's latest application to stay in the UK was refused by the Home Office. When the decision came back it left open the possibility for an appeal. So we're doing that now. Thanks to you and this crowd fund, Jimmy is able to stay in the UK and train.
He is still working hard and hopes to compete in a competition in a few weeks. He's been training alongside student athletes from University of East London.
This endless waiting game is sadly a familiar story for asylum seekers and visa applicants with non-standard applications. We're all hoping for something to change but its unlikely for the foreseeable future.
As soon as anything changes I'll update you.
I had a sweet dream last night the government had decreed that only one person could come into the country for one that left. A poll voted in Jimmy Thoronka (the type we need) and voted out Jeremy Clarkson it was a close vote split by a number of so called premiership footballers, politicians and bank directors. Sad it was just a dream. I've been an absolute sod all day.
Dear Jimmy, my condolences on your sad bereavements. I do hope that everything will work out ok for you, and that you will get chance to pursue your athletic career. Dear Richard, thankyou for setting this up so that we can help Jimmy. You are doing a great job, and I and I am looking forward to reading all about your research on the Wiki page you have set up. Love to both, Carol
Dear Jimmy, this must be a terrible time for you. Please know that you are not alone - the UK regime is horrible but most UK people are not, we want compassion & justice & we care about you. Wishing you courage & strength in this time of trouble. Dear Richard, you are doing a wonderful job & I salute & respect you. But I don't understand why the money we raised can't be used to help Jimmy's asylum claim? I did think that was the whole point when I donated. I was mistaken, but if that wasn't the case, could you not poll us all to check that we all agree? Maybe I've got the wrong end of the stick, please explain! Best wishes & much respect to you & to Jimmy, from Lou.
It would be wonderful if his family is alive. I'm sorry that folks are attacking him and his circumstance. Don't let it get you down, Jimmy. Keep pushing forward. I don't care what the circumstances are; no one should live like you were having to live, going from place to place, or living on the streets, afraid to go home, unable to go home; there may be a totally different scenario. I don't really care; what I see is a person with a dream, and not a lot otherwise, and i want to help him reach that, and I hope there are still a lot of other people who do as well. May God bless.
Richard,dont lose heart,it feels to me that some political cynicism has come into play in Sierra Leone. Jimmy,I do hope adopted mother is alive and you are able to see her again but whatever the outcome please pursue your dreams and don't let the "system" take those dreams away from you.I hope you are now starting to build yourself back up and training again.We continue to follow your story.I hope the truth comes out quickly for your peace of mind and you are able to plan your future using the support donated.
Good to know you are in training Jimmy - hope you get over the hamstring injury soon and all the best.
Jimmy's asylum claim was rejected more than a month ago. In early October you wrote on the campaign’s FB page: “I'll know more next week and keep you all updated.” I am not seeing any update here or on the FB page. Where is Jimmy, and what is happening to the £32,470 which you have raised?
Thank you for this initiative. So glad Jimmy is doing well, thanks to your setting up this account and the support it has been given..
Keep going my brother!
i think the value of setting up the campaign around the athlete training support etc is really sound Richard - regardless of how the confusing information pans out the rationale remains grounded and positive, non political in the best sense of that description, based on welfare and future plans etc. Hopefully it will keep going.
These conflicting reports on Jimmy's family are suspiciously timed. Seems to me that there are other parties interested in getting their hands on the donations. I hope that if someone in Jimmy's family is alive that they are able to make contact soon. It's not fair on Jimmy to play god with his life and well being like this.