Stefania's Memorial Fund

£8,090 of £8,000 goal

Raised by 480 people in 1 month
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

We will provide evidence of the costs via an update before withdrawing any money, until which point it is held by Go Fund Me. 

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 17th July: Rev Edd, with support from local Italian speakers, has been liaising with Stefania's family in Italy. 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. Thanks to your donations, we were also able to hold an all faiths and none memorial service was held on Sat July 20th, at Sydenham School (see updates)

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 7th to add a bit more about us as per Go Fund Me requirements which we have been emailed and asked to add: 

How we knew Stefani: 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. 

Money donated via Go Fund Me will: be held by them. Money left over after the funeral director and venue for the memorial service have been paid deposited into an account in Clare's name with ethical bank Triodos, which will contain only money donated to this cause. I will be very happy to provide an up to date statement for this account on request. This is a temporary arrangement, and if a group decision is made to create a long term fund in Stefania's name rather than donating to an existing charity for example, then a community account will be set up. 

About us:

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. 

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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Invite to get involved in deciding what happens to funds. Do you have experience of homelessness and/or facilities for homeless people locally? Please get in touch

It is now a month since we lost our friend Stefania. Thanks to your generosity we have now been able to pay the balance required for her to be repatriated to Italy* and we have the same again left over to help others in a similar situation locally as we have hit our initial fundraising target. A big thank you.

Thank you to everyone who has got in touch to offer to help be part of the group deciding how best to use these funds. I will be in touch shortly with everyone who has offered their time and expertise .

For now I wanted to share with you these beautiful hand made angel wings that have been left under the subway where tributes are still gathering.

Marta has finished editing her video of the memorial service for those who couldn't be there so I will send a link to that shortly.

Love from Clare x

*for transparency, you can find the receipt here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzHq0SS8z740UHUzU1dnVGRiYi00VFZWS05qbTJkVXRBU1hB/view?usp=drivesdk
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Just to say a big thank you to everyone who came to Stefania's memorial service on Saturday and/or contributed in any way.

I'm sharing a picture of the lovely pictures that were taken of Stefania by Martin Andersen which were displayed at the service, along with the flowers from lovely Camilla B.

***Filming from the memorial service***
Lots of you have asked if the service was filmed so you can see it if you weren't able to come - Marta is currently editing the footage and so will be sharing with us in a few weeks as soon as it is ready.

***Fundraising Update***
Many thanks too to those of you who were able to donate at the service - I'm pleased to let you know we raised £355.51! Which coincidentally is almost exactly the same amount as the fees Go Fund Me charge. We are very very close to our fundraising target so please do share with anyone who may have wanted to donate but hasn't got round to.

***Next Steps***
Now Stefania's memorial has passed and she is being repatriated to Italy for her funeral and final burial, our attention is turned to the future and planning how we can best spend the funds given in her memory to help people in a similar situation. Please do get in touch with me if you want to be part of the planning group, especially if you have experience of homelessness personally or professionally including with local services.

***A permanent memorial***
Some people have also suggested a permanent physical memorial for Stefania. Although this isn't currently within the scope of this project, please do get in touch if you are someone who could lead investigations into whether a chair style installation in the subway would be feasible, or if you are an artist that could design a seat in her memory.

Money from this fundraiser are currently held by Go Fund Me, so I am discussing the best way to withdraw them to pay the invoices we have accrued for the hire of the hall for the memorial and Stefania's repatriation while maintaining transparency. I will update you so it is clear the funds are being used as you all intended.

With love,

Clare x
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Join us tomorrow Sat 20th July Sydenham School Dartmouth Road SE26 4RD for Stefania's memorial service. Doors open at 9.30am - all faiths and none welcome.

Thanks to local businesses and individuals we will have some refreshments after the service.

There will be filming for those who are abroad etc and cannot attend. There is a possibility this may be used as part of a documentary about homelessness. Please identify yourself to one of the volunteers when you arrive if are not happy to be in the filming so that they can advise where to sit to avoid this.

Please also message me if you have any accessibility requirements.

Some people have asked about dress code. Please do wear whatever you think is appropriate and you will be comfortable in for the occassion. I'm sure we will have a mix of people both wearing black and wearing casual clothes. We know that not everyone has the funds to have specific black formal wear

I am very sad not to be able to be with you due to a wedding out of London, but I will be thinking of you all and Stefania. Please say hi to my Mum Margaret who is coming down from Sheffield to respects on my behalf and help out. She also met Stefania several times herself.

A big thank you to everyone who has pulled together to make tomorrow happen. I also wanted to take this opportunity to say a big thank you especially to the local Italian community who have been a big help particularly in supporting Rev.Edd with the formal arrangements for Stefania. Thank you for your kindness from all of us.

Love, Clare x
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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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£8,090 of £8,000 goal

Raised by 480 people in 1 month
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