Memorial service to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Damilola Taylor postponed due to lockdown

The 20th anniversary memorial service to commemorate the death of Damilola Taylor in 2000 has had to be postponed due to the lockdown.

The Prime Minister and Mayor of London were both due to be part of the inspirational and uplifting ceremony at Southwark Cathedral, alongside Prince Charles and Hollywood star John Boyega.

But it has now been rescheduled for May 19, 2021, with all the support cast – including South London Gospel superstar Mica Paris – confirming.

That will mean a full cathedral post Covid-19.

A legacy campaign was launched on the 19th anniversary – November 27, 2019 – events originally included the long-awaited relaunch of the community youth ‘Oscars’ – The Spirit of London Awards.

But big indoor live events are banned in lockdown, so this has been pushed back until 2021.

Gary Trowsdale, former chief executive of the Damilola Taylor Trust and founder of the awards, said: “Running the legacy campaign #Hope2020 through this virus-impacted year has been beyond tough.

“But with the support of an amazingly powerful partnership cohort developed under the banner The Hope Collective, it’s still going to climax successfully.”

This youth-led imitative – The Day of Hope – will be staged on Damilola’s birthday – December 7.

“Damilola wrote about his hope to change the world shortly before his untimely death, so this is as fitting a legacy project as one could imagine,” said Mr Trowsdale.

He is supporting the Damilola Taylor Trust by taking on a tumultuous fundraising challenge to coincide with the Day of Hope because of the challenge facing the charity sector with funding cuts and income shortfalls – and with the huge problem of youth unemployment hitting record levels.

He is cycling from London to Jarrow, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, over four days – around 360 miles – using A roads, departing from London on December 3.

He plans to arrive in Jarrow on December 7 – where he will meet with youth workers and young people,

The 60-year-old hopes to raise £30,000 to help the Damilola Taylor Trust maintain its employability programmes in 2021, as funding gets tighter and ever more competitive.

This is not the first time he has taken on a cycling challenge – in 2016 he completed the Ride London 100

“It was my 56th birthday and I had not really taken the training too seriously,” he said. “I had not ridden a bike for over 20 years and I borrowed the bike I used the day before the event from my pal, Winston.

“I could not really blame him for the buckled wheel and early mishaps – including having to cycle from home in Herne Hill to the Olympic Stadium, Stratford to the starting point as no trains were running.

“I came last out of 25,000, but I completed the challenge and got my medal. At least the ride to Jarrow isn’t a race, and as long as I reach there by the Day of Hope and can get the backing I am looking for, I will be feeling mighty
pleased with myself.”

To get involved with and support Damilola’s legacy campaign click here and to sponsor Gary’s ride to Jarrow click here.

Pictured top: Damilola Taylor and his father, Richard


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