Memorial service for 9 vulnerable people who died during Covid

A service is being held at the cathedral to remember nine vulnerable people who died during Covid. Pictured is Will Crump

A memorial service is being held at St Edmundsbury Cathedral on November 20 to remember nine people who had at some point been homeless and died during the pandemic. Pictured is Will Crump, one of those whose life will be marked - Credit: Archant/John Crump

A cathedral service is being held to ensure vulnerable people who died during the coronavirus pandemic are not forgotten.

Over the course of the health crisis, nine men and women who had been supported by the Bury Drop In charity passed away.

While not all died from Covid-19, their deaths are said to be as a direct result of lack of services available during the pandemic.

Will in Crete, taken by his father John Crump.

Will Crump in Crete, taken by his father John Crump - Credit: John Crump

Bury Drop In helps those who don't have secure housing and they may also have drug or alcohol addictions.

A memorial service is being held at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday, November 20, at 3.30pm to remember these nine people, including artist Will Crump.

Mr Crump, 48, died in July 2020 from severe burns following an incident where he caught fire.

Penny Fowler with her son Will and husband Martin in Bury St Edmunds.

Penny Fowler with her son Will Crump and husband Martin in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Noreen Drislane

His mother Penny Fowler, who lives in London and plans to attend the service, said it was "very important" that her son, and the other Drop In guests, were not forgotten. 

"I'm sure it will be a very moving ceremony," she said. "While Will didn't die because of Covid, the pandemic definitely played a part. He was not able to come to London and he lost face-to-face interactions."

David Bonnett, one of the founding members of Bury Drop In, said to put the number of guests who had died in context, they had lost at most three from various causes in the five years prior.

David Bonnett, one of the founders of Bury Drop In, a charity that helps the homeless and vulnerable

David Bonnett, one of the founders of Bury Drop In, a charity that helps the homeless and vulnerable - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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He believes the reduced face-to-face support during the pandemic contributed to their deaths.

He said they were determined these friends should not be forgotten and "just become statistics".

"They will always now be remembered as part of the community and it should really goad us into making sure it doesn't happen again. We must look out for the people who are the most vulnerable."

He said there could be other vulnerable people who had also died as a result of reduced support services during coronavirus who were not on their radar.

The Very Reverend Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral 

The Very Reverend Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral - Credit: Archant

Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral, The Very Reverend Joe Hawes, said: "One of the indirect consequences of the pandemic lockdown was the loss of support services to some of the most vulnerable in our society.

"This led to isolation and a lack of practical help. Nine guests who used to visit Bury Drop In died during this time. On Saturday, November 20, we will remember them by name, tell their stories and share the sadness of their loss.

"This is one of the jobs given to a cathedral: to name those who might otherwise be forgotten, to give voice to the voiceless and to tell their stories. Please consider joining us for the service. All are welcome.”

The service will include candle lighting in memory of those lost, plus music, readings and prayer.

David Bonnett is determined these nine Bury Drop In members don't just become statistics

David Bonnett is determined these nine Bury Drop In members don't just become statistics - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Alongside the nine guests remembered, it will also remember a volunteer from Bury Drop In who also passed away during this time.

The service is open to all. If possible, please email Bury Drop In so they have an idea of numbers.

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