Funerals after Norwich double teenage tragedy
Details have been announced of the funerals of two Congolese teenagers who drowned in a broad at Whitlingham near Norwich on August 12.
The funerals of Bonheur Musungay, 14, and Stella Kambi, 17, will take place on Saturday August 22 at St Luke's on Aylsham Road in Norwich from 10am to 12 noon. Vicar, Rev David Austin, said "At least 300 people are expected to attend so the church will be open from 9.30am. The burials will then take place at St Andrew's in Thorpe."
Bonheur and Stella had been with their families enjoying St Andrews Marshes reserve when the tragedy happened on August 12. When Bonheur got into trouble while swimming, Stella went in to help her cousin, but also drowned.
Daniel Aketo, the father of Stella, described his daughter as a “very caring” young woman, on the Norfolk Congolese Association (NOCA) website. He said: “She was studying nursing at college and wanted to be a paediatrician. She was a good Christian who had worked hard to do well at school since arriving in this country. She was kind, funny and just made people happy.”
The family arrived in the UK as refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008.
More than 200 members of the Congolese community have assembled in Norwich, to pay their respects before the funerals as is traditional for their African community, and the local Christian community has stepped forward to help provide accommodate and cater for their needs.
Christian businessman Graham Dacre has given the use of Jubilee Hall (Formerly the British Legion hall) in Aylsham Road next to St Luke’s Church to help accommodate the gathering Congolese families who have come from Scotland, London and the Midlands.
Emma Penfold, Community Engagement Officer for Neighbourhood Management - North Team, Norwich City Council is liaising with the community and local churches.
The church of St Luke's adjoins the Jubilee Hall and vicar Rev David Austin and the congregation of St Luke's and St Augustine's have been assisting in whatever way they can.
David said: “St Augustine's church has known the family for over three years - the Congolese community formerly met in our church hall. A collection has been made by the congregation to help assist with the costs of hosting the large number of people. We hve also loaned tables, chairs and crockery. Prayers were also said for the Congolese families and community in church.”
Norwich Vineyard has also been involved with the Kambi family, which attended the church when they first came to the UK and father Daniel played for the church football team, along with other Congolese players.
Senior pastor, Geoff Lawton, said: “One or two of our church members have been able to give personal assistance and I have been able to visit Daniel and his family a couple of times. As governor and chaplain at Thorpe High School I have also been trying to keep them informed of what's going on.”
Local Congolese pentecostal fellowships and their pastors are also helping the families and the Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James, has also offered some financial support.
Appeals for loans of chairs, bedding, cooking utensils and children's toys has been made by the Congolese community and a Facebook page has been set up to help raise funds to cover the funeral costs via the Norfolk Congolese community Association.
Pictured above are Bonheur Musungay and Stella Kambi, picture courtesy of NOCA.