Plea from parent to help raise funds for gravestones to teens who drowned at Thorpe Marshes

Angele Kasampilo, Stella's mother, and Stella's younger sister

Angele Kasampilo, Stella's mother, and Stella's younger sister - Credit: Archant

A crowdfunder has been set up to help the families of two teenagers who drowned at Thorpe Marshes last year place proper gravestones for their children.

An inquest held this month provided some closure for the parents of Bonheur Musungay, 14, and his cousin Stella Kambi, 17, but their bodies have lain side by side at a burial plot for more than a year without a memorial.

Only small wooden plaques mark the spot, just a stones throw from the lake at Whitlingham Lane where they drowned on August 12, 2015.

The inquest into their deaths heard how Stella ran fully clothed into the water to rescue her younger cousin, but despite her best efforts, both sank beneath the surface.

Around 600 people attended their joint funeral at St Luke's Church on Aylsham Road, paid for by the Norfolk Congolese Association.

Angele Kasampilo, Stella's mother, said it had been too painful to visit their graves until very recently, but now her attention has turned toward remembrance.

Facing cost estimates of more £1,500, the family cannot afford to place headstones on their joint plot, off Yarmouth Road.

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A JustGiving page has now been set up for the family from a local parent, who writes: 'These two beautiful children are at rest, side by side in a cemetery in Thorpe St Andrew. The family have no funds available to pay for memorial stones to mark their final resting places.

'Please help me try to raise the funds needed to give these children the memorials they deserve. As a parent, my heart goes out to their families as they try to pick up the pieces of their lives after this heart breaking tragedy.

'Please, help me, every penny will count.'

Mrs Kasampilo explained after the inquest: 'We buried them together because they died together. The big issue is the money. We need to build this for our children. It is about remembering them.

'If we leave it like it is there is almost no sign there is anyone there.

'I am under pressure now to do this. We haven't been able to rest with the inquest coming up. We have been preparing to go to the coroner and we didn't know what she was going to say.

'Now that is finished we can start focusing on trying to recover.'

Bonheur's mother Flora Mawua and Stella's father Daniela Aketo have also asked for help in building a proper memorial at the grave.

'We are asking if there is any organisation who can help us,' said Mr Aketo. 'We are not in a position to afford the amount of money they ask.'

Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lesa-bales-1 to donate.

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