Thousands of well-wishers and bereaved friends and family of a man who drowned trying to save a woman in the Thames have donated more than £137,000 in tribute to his sacrifice.
Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, 20, selflessly threw himself off London Bridge to try and save the flailing struggler in the early hours of Saturday – but instead became a victim himself of the river’s swirling undercurrents.
A GoFundMe page was set up by Malcolm’s World Foundation, a charity set up in memory of Malcolm Mide-Madariola, who was murdered at Clapham South Tube station entrance in 2018. Olubunmi-Adewole went to school with him and had his name tattooed on his arm.
“This family just lost another hero,” the charity tweeted on Sunday. “Such a pure hearted soul. Extremely loving and caring. Yesterday he died more than a hero.”
And later the tweeter added: “#JimiTheHero love @Malcolms_World so much that he had this tattoo to keep his memory.Such a pure hearted soul. Extremely loving and caring.Yesterday he died more than a hero and went home with the tattoo.U were not just his bestie u were his brother. Bye Son”
The gofundme page says: “On his way back from work, he saw the woman jumping into the river not thinking twice after calling the police, convinced he could do something to save her he jumped in and drowned saving her. This is to support the funeral and the rest for post -funeral as he was hardworking college graduate who at 20 was the family’s breadwinner . He is survived by his aged parents and siblings.
“Your little support will go a little way; a long way. Pure- hearted soul. Great helper. Loving boy. RIP JimiTheHero.”
More than 5,800 people have so far donated to the fund, with one, Rahul Moodgal, contributing £1,234. The Boparan Restaurant Group has also donated £6,000.
The drowned man’s father, Michael Adewola, 63, told The Sun newspaper that his son – known as Jimi – deserved a medal for the bravery he showed diving in the river with a friend to try to save the woman.
“He is a very unique and angelic soul, and I am proud of him, so proud, and I want the world to know he is the deepest and most wonderful man,” Adewola said. “He is a hero, and always will be, I can’t bring him back but I want him to be remembered forever for what he did, it was just like him to want to always try and help others.”
Commenting on reports of Olubunmi-Adewole’s death, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, tweeted that he “was the best of us”.
Khan added: “A true hero of our city who gave his life trying to save another. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time of tragic loss.”
City of London police previously said two men had entered the water after witnessing the woman fall from the bridge. The coastguard and the Metropolitan police’s marine unit rescued the woman and one of the men, but could not locate the other person despite an extensive search.
Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted it was a “truly selfless act of heroism from a brave young man”.
On Monday, Mr Olubunmi-Adewole’s school, Harris Academy Peckham, held a two-minute commemorative clap in his honour, with all students and staff gathering in the playground to remember him.
Rebecca Hickey, the school’s executive principal, said: “He was quite a character – he would never be seen without a smile. He was known for his slightly cheeky, optimistic outlook. He was very popular, incredibly popular amongst his peers and obviously he leaves them devastated in his wake.
“Anyone who knew him remotely well would not have been surprised at the actions he took. He put others in front of himself at all times. He was a very gentlemanly young man. He had a clear set of moral values and his manners were very gentlemanly – he would hold doors open, and if anybody ahead of him failed to do that he would have been morally outraged and make that clear.”
Ms Hickey said the school intended to work with his family to find a way to continue his memory in a way they would want them to.
“He will always be a hero within our community,” she added.
Mr Olubunmi-Adewole was also a member of Athenlay Football Club in south-east London and a minute’s silence was held at all of their matches on Sunday.
Tony Underwood, from the club, later tweeted: “Saw my first swallow of the summer yesterday. Hope his family can also see his soul now as a beacon of warmth and hope for us all. RIP #JimiTheHero.”
A second gofundme also suggested donations to “fly him back home and bury him in Nigeria” giving details of the bank account to send money to. The foundation tweeted: “This is another FRAUD friends . Pls disregard.”
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