Candlelit vigil held in Northampton to remember lives of 24 homeless people
An emotional vigil was held on Friday to commemorate the lives of 24 homeless people who have died in Northampton since July 2017.
The vigil was led by the Hope Centre, on the steps of All Saints Church on Friday (March 15), where Robin Burgess, CEO of the Hope Centre, paid tribute to those who have died, which was shortly followed by prayer from the rector of the church, Father Oliver Coss.
All those who have died were each remembered by their own sign, which were held up by members of the public.
Robin Burgess said: "The key point about all of these people is if you look at the ages of all of them the oldest is Eddie P (senior). He was 65, occasionally he used to sleep rough behind this church and was well known to us.
"But the youngest here, who died only a few days ago, Kristian was only 22 when he died.
"Every single one of these deaths is preventable and it is premature, and as a result we must work harder to prevent these deaths from happening again in the future. Every one of these lives deserves to be remembered. Every single one of these lives mattered."
Among those who died was 46-year-old Richard Campbell, who passed away in July 2017 through an accident caused by drinking.
Known as ‘mother’, Richard had worked in the beauty and make-up industry in stores like Harrods and had once done make-up for Kylie Minogue. Many service users attended his funeral.
At the time of his death, Hope was looking at how they could support him and another service user in setting up a small social enterprise out of Hope, providing beauty services.
After Richard's death the Hope Centre started a memorial garden and have recorded each death on a stone.Kristian O was 22 years old and passed away in February 2019.
Kristian was a well-known figure in town and busked to support himself, rarely taking advantage of services through fear of deportation and, as a Lithuanian, lacking access to housing.
Steven C died in November 2018.
A long-term rough sleeper, Steven suffered from a number of health issues, including type one diabetes. Other health problems and related street behaviours eroded his resistance to disease and he eventually died in hospital.
He had been housed in a hostel prior to his death and his winning personality meant that he endeared himself to people and was well liked.Jerica was 38 years old when she died in early 2019.
Originally from the USA, Jerica was living rough in the St James area and was well known.
Many people reported stopping and talking with her.
Once again, she engaged in various risky behaviours that reportedly led to her death. She left behind children from whom she was separated.
Graham F was 44 when he died in February 2018.
Graham was hit by a car while wandering in the street and died in hospital.
A long-term rough sleeper, he had been excluded from the night shelter for alleged drug use the day before he died.
Fabien B was 48 years old at the time of his death in July 2018.
A Big Issue vendor supplied by Hope, Fabien died in his tent from health issues directly arising from long-term alcohol problems, which had caused his body great damage.
He died shortly after celebrating his birthday.
Though he was known for selling the Big Issue here and also in Milton Keynes, he was also well-known to people beyond the homelessness community.
Eddie P (senior) was 65 when he died.
Eddie had been housed and had somewhere to live but he had been homeless and a rough sleeper previously.
Even after he was housed he continued to sleep rough regularly because he had grown used to that lifestyle.
A very well-liked man, Eddie had been involved in the music business.
His son, also known as Eddie, sadly died from similar causes two weeks after his father’s death, though he was not homeless.