Mural for Stefania

Stephanie who used to sit under the Forest Hill underpass has sadly died. How about we create a perminant mural there for where she used to sit? She much a much loved member of the community and a perminant marker there will be a testament to the kindness she inspired, and the kindness of strangers, which is what London is all about. We would need a local artist and the right permissions.

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While that’s a thoughtful idea, I personally like the idea someone had of raising a bit of money for her children in Italy, if only to show how people cared for her.

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Yes to both! I thought about mural this morning and am so glad someone thought if this too… How do we start?

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Much better that any monies raised go to helping the homeless and troubled individuals that form part of our community.

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I’m afraid I agree here, unless someone is willing to do the the mural free of charge – I think money raised in this case would be best donated to a charity for the homeless, to go towards preventing someone else suffering the same sad fate. We could donate in her memory,

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Perhaps hold a visual - where a collection could be held ?
Permission would have to be granted for a mural - but I think it’s a beautiful idea and does reflect our sense of community.
Maybe something temporary like solar lights to light up the subway like Steph did ?
I’m sure we could find a volunteer artist for such a cause - does anyone have any connections with Lewisham council and or artists ?
As for getting the funds to the family - we could approach local charities that may have assisted with Steph to see if they could reach out on our behalf - failing that the money could go to one of those charities…
Just chiming in - sorry I don’t actually have any of the connections or answers !

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Very sad to hear this news. I don’t however think a mural is appropriate but do agree that any monies raised should go to her family or a local homeless or drug charity instead and I think that would be a much better legacy of her life.

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I think a murial would be appropriate, in time, but it would need permission of course but also crowdfunding.

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Any loss of life when one is a familiar or non familiar face is sad, as is hearing of ones tragic life.
However I think a permanent mural (free of charge or paid for…) is inappropriate, and would advise a step back and a rationalisation of the tragic mental state that allowed her to be in the spot you all want to memorialise.
Take a step back and stop letting your emotions get the better of you and realise that a lot of the FH community outside of this forum may not wish to be forever reminded that a life was wasted through emotional disorder and a tragic background that forced her into accommodating the same spot under the tunnel almost daily (rain or shine) for years!
No matter how friendly she was and how much she was liked (I too exchanged friendly hello’s every-time we passed by in the tunnel or when we passed along Rockbourne or Stanstead Road - to acknowledge she was a human not just another homeless (or not) person)
There are many homeless troubled individuals that are regular faces in FH who form part of our community. A better sense of community would not to be to focus on one but to get out there and help the many!
Put your emotions and your money as someone said above into donating to a charity for the homeless, to go towards preventing someone else suffering the same sad fate not put up a mural to memorialise just one tragic life.

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Totally agree.

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Just wanted to add my thoughts to this discussion. I’m a new member, and joined because I did a search for Stefania after hearing the news second hand via a text. That is how popular she was - for the right or wrong reasons, that people in the community were texting each other - not to gossip, but in sadness. I can therefore understand the need for a memorial, but it’s a difficult one. Do we want to remember Stefania, or the fact that she was forced to beg every day to feed a habit she could not escape from? I have a great deal of experience with addiction through one of my siblings, so I speak with some understanding and knowledge. I agree that money should be better invested in supporting others to avoid a similar sad fate, but I also love the idea of remembering Stefania. Maybe a local event to raise some money for local charities in her memory? I never gave Stefania money, and she never asked me for it. we shared details of our lives, and of my experiences, and we had an understanding. I could never claim to be her friend, but I think she would think of others before herself, and would want any effort placed into helping others? This a very challenging and complex subject. In short, I think if some would like a mural to remember her (much better if donated for free), and some would like to raise money for local charities, they both have to be valid, and led by those who want to group and do it. I don’t think any of us can or should make that decision for others, however good our intentions. Sometimes being reminded of a tragedy is the best way for others to avoid it - we don’t need to glorify it. the mural could have a plaque explaining her tragic story, for instance.

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Just putting it out there, is there a reason we can’t do both?

  1. A memorial of some kind in the subway - could just be a plaque if a mural would be offensive or disconcerting to some
  2. A raise in her name to go to Thames Reach which I have seen on another thread were working with Stefani to try to help her break out of her situation.

IMO & from experience as life moves on even after the loss of those closest to us we do tend to forget so someething to remember her in the subway as we pass and carry on with our lives would be comforting.

@antoniousprime thank you for being so candid about your own experiences

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Many clearly cared for her. A perminant marker like a plaque would be appropriate once the temporay tributes have been removed.

And BigAl as offensive as this may sound many in FH did not. The FH community is bigger than just those who are active on this forum. As someone put above “I don’t think any of us can or should make that decision for others, however good our intentions”

Others have loved and lost in this community, have been members of this community longer than some of you have been. Should they all have a plaque too?
There are members in this community who are affected by all the issues expressed on here and deal with it less publicly. There are also people in this community in one way or another who will feel that a mural/plaque is inappropriate because of that, no matter how tragic a life this may have been and how emotional you all are about her passing.

It is clear some of you had positive interactions with her, so a want for personal tributes and reflections are a natural form of grief. That said unfortunately life does indeed move on, as I am sure all of your daily lives did each and every day you passed her in the subway. So will it once your shock and disbelieve fades.
The subway is for all of FH it is a spot that lead her to be known to you all but it should not be immortalised for one tragic life lost.
Remember that for every one of you that are feeling emotional for her passing there will be others who may not feel the same way and that is a tragic truth.
I repeat that FH as a community is bigger than just those who are active on this forum and the subway is for them too.

Do you also take notice of the growing amount of homeless, beggars and people with obvious mental issues roaming the streets of FH?
The ones who sit outside the CoOp or Sainsbury’s? the one shouting swear words outside The Capitol, or at the front of FH station?
What about the young sobbing girl who has for years been walking the streets around FH asking for 5p or 20p, who is now often seen constantly sobbing and begging on the trains into FH asking for change or food?
These are just to name a few of the “tragic” regulars in our community.
Have you stopped to speak to them to find out their stories too? or do you see these folk as antisocial, aggressive etc.etc. and not part of the FH community?

My aim is not to belittle the grief some of you are clearly having, it is to make you rationalise your grief.

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Hi, There is a verified link to a go fund me page which was set up to fund her funeral. It is on the site.

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My final input on this - I am not quite sure what to say on the spray painted illegal grafittii to what is now a “temporary mural” and growing tributes in the underpass, aside that the underpass is more a depressing sight now than it was.
It’s harsh to say but Steph did little (as someone mentioned above) to “light up the subway”, because honestly and truthfully no one can pretend there was anything joyous in seeing a woman’s life wasting away for years in that spot.
I was asked by a friend visiting yesterday if someone was killed there? and walking though the underpass tonight that is what it feels like.

May she fully rest in peace and your grief and “what if’s” and “if only” help the other “tragic” causes you walk by in the community. However I Iook forward to when the underpass is given back to the rest of the FH community.

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Hi Ak8, what is currently in the underpass is illegal graffiti, and not the permission granted mural proposed. I suggest you retract your statement.

No need to retract AK8, this is fair comment. The tributes, grafitti - whatever you wish to call it - should certainly only be temporary. It would also be highly inappropriate to ‘celebrate’ the life of a troubled individual whose life was blighted by drug abuse with any type of mural or long-term memorial.

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Thank you and totally agree and I will not retract what I feel is a valid comment .
I have however edited it to add in “illegal graffiti”. Moderators please review as per PM.

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She existed, whether you acknowledged or liked or not and I don’t think it’s anyones business how she died or how she lived parts of her life.

Why can’t there be both? A memorial to her and help for her family and then actually getting out there and helping the countless others? How many people did you ignore on the street, the tube etc yesterday?

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