Neighbours on Bermondsey’s Longfield Estate have created a mural in support for the NHS with a tribute to one of their own that was taken suddenly by the coronavirus.
The ten-foot mural featuring a rainbow and a heart with the initials of Terry Coakley, who aged just 34 died at St Thomas’ Hospital on April 2, was painted on the middle of the estate yesterday (Friday April 24).
Terry’s father David told the News how touched he was by the mural and said that the estate, in which his son grew up, was a close-knit community with many of Terry’s friends still living there, that he had known since they were babies.
A young man with his whole life ahead of him, Terry’s sudden death shocked friends in Bermondsey as he only suffered from a mild form of asthma. They have raised a whopping £7,747 for a plaque and a donation to the doctors and nurses who battled to save him for over two weeks at St Thomas’ Hospital.
His younger sister Toni speaking to the News just one week after his death said: “If you can take anything away from this, it is the need to look after yourselves, protect yourselves and do as you are told.”
His father David has also been busy in lockdown in his garden, building a memorial to his son out of wooden pallets and has made another one for Terry’s nan.
The garden memorials have spaces for flowers to be planted. “I have made them before and did one when my dad passed away,” David told the News. “Terry always helped me build them. The one I have made for my mum, she can have when the lockdown is over.”
“Seeing the mural with Terry’s initials on them makes me such a proud dad and its lovely that people have put messages on there. The support we have had from the neighbours have been brilliant including Simon Hughes.”
The former MP for Old Southwark and Bermondsey lives near the family and had known Terry since he was a baby.
His funeral will be held on Monday May 11 and will be live-streamed by Bermondsey funeral directors Albins.
David said: “His friends have done such an amazing job. It is so heartwarming how well he was liked. We plan to have the funeral go from our home, through the Blue and if Millwall allow us through the carpark and in front of the stand. After this is all over we will have a proper big send-off for our Terry.”
Where the plaque will be placed for the popular Millwall fan has still not be decided, but the family are going to be talking to the club about what they can done at the ground.
The News will publish the link to watch the live-stream a week before the funeral.