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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Homeless dead are commemorated in London

December 10 2012


Homeless and formerly homeless people who died in London during the last year were remembered in a service at St Martin-in-the-Fields on the 8 November (pictured).

The Commemorative Service to Remember Homeless People started over 20 years ago; this year it was organised by The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalgar Square) and Housing Justice.

A list of 154 names was read out and candles were lit. The Choir with no Name sang 'Stairway to Heaven' and the Streetwise Opera performed 'You’ll Never Walk Alone'. Hymns, prayers, poems and readings also marked the occasion.

More than 250 people attended. Alastair Murray of Housing Justice said: “The service is important because it brings together people who work in the field, those who are or have been homeless themselves, to remember and give thanks for the lives of people who are or have been homeless – often people who are known to us.

“And it draws attention to the continuing fact that many people’s lives are cut short by the experience of homelessness.”

Reverend Richard Carter, who led the service, explained that this year’s theme, ‘Welcoming Angels Unaware’, made him consider “the welcome that we provide, or fail to provide, for visitors, strangers, refugees and neighbours”.

He said: “It is one of the most moving and important services that takes place at St Martin’s each year. The list of those who have died is frighteningly long. This service, we pray, gives a sense of dignity to all those who have died, many who never found a home and felt lost and excluded.”

Ken, who was formerly homeless, said it was “very emotional”. “I’ve cried every year – that’s natural for us. I always have a lump in my throat, especially when it’s somebody you’ve known for a long while. You always look back at the good but also the bad times you spent together,” he added.

Tony, who had also experienced homelessness, said: “Without a family you don’t have a safety net to fall back on, and perhaps no one to come to your funeral. When I go to this service I always think it would be so sad to have no one to remember you, to think that no-one cares. I think it’s really important we remember people in this way- I mean perhaps they were somebody’s angel in their lives.”

• We looked at other places that have similar services of commemoration – Bradford, Cambridge in the UK and San Francisco, Austin, Minneapolis in the US, to name a few – and will look at whether is unified day of commemoration would be appropriate.

The names:
Mohamed Abukar, Carol Adio, Rashid Ahmed, Michal Andrzejewski, Anthony Archer, Arik Arnista, Silver Aymes
Marilyn Barrett, James Bower, Colin Bowles, Jonathan Briggs, Lindsey Brown, Mark Bruton, William ‘Billy’ Buck, Michael Buckley, Dave Bullard, Ozell Buntin, Justin Burton
Jules Caesar, Nigel Carter, Ernest Chappell, Terry Chappell, Marcin Checiak, Mick Christy, Florin Cirnu, Brendan Clarke, Tyrone Collins, Kevin Conway, Denise Coward, Gareth Cowen, John Crofts, George Crooks
Hugh Davison, Algirdas Degutis, Thomas Delaney, Alvin Denny, John Dickens, Stanislaw Diller, Vincent Docherty, Ian Donoghue, Richard Donohoe, Keith Doran, William Duncan, Darren Durbridge
Kenneth Elliott, Frederick Ellis, Richard Evatt
Thomas Fallon, Niall Farrell, Tracey Faulkner, Michael Feeney, Christopher Flaherty, Kadri Folarin, Georgina French, Churchill Fullerton
Antonio Gandara, Gerald Gault, Michael George, Michael Geraghty, Leon Gibbons, James Glover, Martyn Goodhew, Joseph Gusmin
Richard (John) Hamilton, Christine Harvey, Jennifer Hatahet, Natalie Heck, Marina Hegarty, James Henderson, John Hill, John Hodgson, Harry Hogben, Paul Holdstock, Adrian Horler, June Houghton, Emil Hudici, Bernard Hukwa, Kasey Humphries
Joanna Ibidun, Jason Ismail
Jay Jorite
Orhan Kartari, James Kearney, Sean Kelly, Mark Kerwin, Damrat Ketwong, Paul Kirwan
John Langley, Oscar Lazurka, Oriestas Leigus, Aaron Lofters, Luis Lopes, Nigel Lovelock, Omar Lundy, Denise Lutchmunsing
Michael Mansfield, Emile Marciny, Eugene Mariam, Thomas Maughan, Maysam Mayderinejad, Simon McAndrew, Gary McCann, Amanda McFarlane, Enda McLoughlin, Steven McMillan, Dominick Meginley, George Mercieca, Michael Meshane, Sadik Miah, John Millward, Bill Moore, Mark Morrison, Kevin Mullins
Stacey Niles
Christopher O’Connor, Edward O’Donnell, Sandra Own
Charlie Parker, Jineth Peters
Naran Rainford, Santosh Rani, Carmel Reid, Carl Rice, Robert Riggs
Julian Safo, Yamadu Sanneth, Christine Santell, Stephen Scully, Michael Silk, Karen Sivitar, David Slowey, Patrick D Smith, Steve Smith, Dusan Soltes, Ursula Spiegel, Gillian Stevens, Arthur Stockton
Bill Taylor, Surenthiram Thankgevelu, Christopher Thomson, David Townsend, Thomas Ray Tully
David Walsh, Louis Wedge, Michaela Westerman, Alan Wheeler, Susan White, Michael Wilkinson and Paul Williams.