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‘Lasting memorial is in our hearts’ but Bishop supports calls for tangible memorial for Thames hero

by Premier Journalist

The Bishop of Southwark has told Premier he supports calls for a memorial to a young man who died trying to save a woman from the Thames. 

20-year-old Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole dived into the water from London Bridge after hearing screams, but emergency services were unable to save him.

The Right Reverend Christopher Chessun says the Church and community is standing alongside the family in their grief:

"We've been very struck by the depth of feeling, we are aware of the distress of Jimi's parents. We're also aware of the feelings of his contemporaries and friends, their sense of shock and loss. But the sense of pride - there's been a very strong expression of real, deep pride that Jimmy did this heroic, selfless act. He heard somebody shouting from the river for help and there was an imperative to act, whatever the risk, whatever the cost. And I think that's something that speaks very deeply to our soul at a very deep level."

Bishop Christopher says the Church and local community is rallying around to support Jimi's loved ones:

"Being there for people is where it all begins. A family can't always find the words to express their grief, can't always find the right words of comfort, but they can be there for each other. And the church tries to be there for those in their hours of need."

There are calls for Jimi to be awarded the George Cross, the highest honour for somebody not in the military. Bishop Christopher says he would support some form of memorial.

"The lasting memorial is in our hearts. But to have a tangible place where people can recall the memory of someone they loved is also a very important part of this. So, a memorial is appropriate."

Bishop Christopher told Premier Jimi's story is a reminder of the generosity of young people in general: 

"I come across so many young people whose selfless generosity is such an important part of how they are developing and maturing as people. And I'm very aware of the great contribution they're already making to our society. And I think giving due recognition to our young people, is a really important thing to do."

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