As the year comes to a close, we remember some of the Southwark residents who died in 2021.
Not long after the year began, we reported on the death of Second World War veteran Albert Holmshaw, known as Bert, aged 96. Born in Sheffield, the Yorkshireman moved to Peckham in 2018 to live with his daughter Janet, and soon got actively involved in Southwark life.
His daughters, Janet Holmshaw and Christine Orton, said: “Our dad was a real gentleman, a good and loyal husband, a caring father, grandfather and great grandfather. He will be sadly and greatly missed.”
On February 5, former Southwark Mayor Denise Capstick died of brain cancer. Denise had been a Liberal Democrat councillor for the Bricklayers and Grange wards. Before that, she was a major in the army for 30 years, and served as a nurse and matron in hospitals across the country including Guy’s and St Thomas’.
We reported on her Southwark Cathedral memorial service in June. Her fellow former councillor and best friend Lorraine Zuleta, paid tribute: “She was a bundle of energy and fun, generous, hardworking and courageous, a passionate woman. She served her country, her borough and her community with great enthusiasm and joy.”
In April, we lost two very young members of the Southwark community to the Thames. Zaheid Ali, a 13-year-old student at Ark Globe Academy near Elephant and Castle, tragically died after ‘jumping’ into the Thames from Tower Bridge, according to a recent inquest.
Later that same week, in the early hours of April 24, Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, a 20-year-old man from the Neckinger Estate in Bermondsey, died after jumping into the River Thames to help a woman in the water.
Speaking to the News in the aftermath of his death, Jimi’s mother Olusankami Adewole called their son “a special, loving young man.” She told the News: “He was a very good person and had a very good heart.” Hundreds of people attended a memorial service for Jimi in Spa Gardens.
We lost one of our own in September, reporting on the death of former Southwark News deputy editor and head of ITV News Geoff Hill, aged just 52.
He died of leukaemia on September 16, surrounded by his family. Former local MP Simon Hughes, who knew Geoff well, described his death as “an irreplaceable loss of a south London star.”
Another former Southwark mayor died on October 12. Bill Skelly, former Camberwell and Peckham councillor passed away aged 89 after a short illness. A former film set decorator and trade unionist, he was described as “radical and innovative” but also “serene and peaceful” by his friend, the Labour councillor Ian Wingfield.
On November 1, “kind and generous” man Christopher Connolly, who grew up near the Blue, tragically died suddenly and unexpectedly after suffering a heart problem. He left behind his fiancée Jenny, three-year-old daughter Nova and six-month-old baby Lyra.
His mother Karen said: “Everyone loved him – his smile would light up a room… He was a Bermondsey boy, he was a cockney,” she said. “Pie and mash and liquor – that was him”.
The borough was shocked in December by the news that Evelina London children’s nursing assistant Petra Srncova had disappeared. Tragically, the Czech-born Camberwell resident’s body was later found in Brunswick Park near her home. Police said that they did not think anyone else was involved in her death.
As in every year, several Southwark residents’ lives were cut short through violence in 2021.
Twenty-two-year-old Lavaun Witter, from Peckham, was fatally stabbed outside a block of flats on Wisbeach Road in Croydon on February 5.
In a moving tribute, Lavaun’s family said the aspiring computer engineer known as ‘Lavz’ was “destined for greatness” and “wanted to fly high”. Four men have been charged with his murder.
Jason Nyarko, 26, was stabbed to death at an illegal rave in Stockholm Road in south Bermondsey on June 26. A teenager was charged with his murder in June but the investigation is ongoing.
His sister Goldie said: “Losing Jason has ripped apart our family, devastated our lives and has left us heartbroken.”
Beatrice Stoica, 36, was found critically injured with stab wounds on Lordship Lane in East Dulwich on July 23. She died in hospital. Her husband Stony Stoica has been charged with her murder.
Camberwell man Gary Mayhew, 32, was shot and died in Brixton on October 21. Trevin Campbell, 31, from Thornton Heath, was charged with his murder.
A post-mortem found the cause of death to have been a gunshot wound to the leg.
Restaurant manager Ian Gualavisi, 23, was stabbed to death on Maldonado Walk in Elephant and Castle on December 14. Police were called to reports of a stabbing at about 7.45 that evening and found Mr Gualavisi with a back wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime.
No one has been arrested in connection with the killing yet. Officers believe the attack came from two men on a moped who sped away towards Elephant and Castle train station.
Jobari Gooden, 27, died after being stabbed in Peckham. He is believed to have been attacked outside House of Ramish 2 barber shop on Choumert Road on December 17.
One local man has been charged with his murder and two others have been charged with perverting the course of justice.