Norwich churches back appeal to remember tragic duo
Leaders from two Norwich churches have backed an appeal to raise funds to pay for a gravestone for two Congolese youngsters who tragically drowned at Whitlingham Broad last year.
Bonheur Musungay, 14, and his cousin Stella Kambi, 17, were buried side-by-side more than a year ago, just a stone’s throw from Whitlingham. But their parents cannot afford to pay for a proper gravestone, which is just marked with a small wooden plaque.
Local woman Lesa Bales set up a JustGiving page to raise the £1,500 needed to pay for a proper gravestone. She said: “Please help me try to raise the funds needed to give these children the memorials they deserve, as a parent, my heart goes out to their families as they try to pick up the pieces of their lives after this heart breaking tragedy.”
The appeal has been backed by two Norwich churches which have had contacts with the families before.
Rev David Austin from St Luke’s church, said: “We were able to support the Congolese community during their bereavement and we held the joint funeral service in our church to which 700+ Congolese attended from across the UK. We continue to support the Congolese community and host the Fire Pentecostal Church at St Luke's every Sunday (2 - 4.30pm).
“I commend the justgiving appeal made by the families in order to purchase a gravestone for these much loved teenagers - sadly missed.”
Jim Green, from Norwich Vineyard, said: “Stella’s father Daniel was a valued member of our church football team. As a refugee whose family had been through difficult times before arriving in this country, Daniel was keen to help children in the Congo, and collected football kit and other resources for children in need in the Congo. We support the family's desire to properly remember the children of their own family.”
To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lesa-bales-1
UPDATE - October 31 the £1,500 target has been exceeded.
Lesa Bales said, "I can't believe it! We've done it!!! Thank you ALL SO VERY MUCH!!!! I'm speechless. For everyone I have been unable to contact personally, thank you thank you thank you!!!! Bless you all for coming together to make this happen!! I will keep you posted once the families have chosen the stones.
Read our previous story on this topic.
Pictured above are Bonheur Musungay and Stella Kambi, picture courtesy of NOCA.