Friends and family of an activist who died last year are fundraising to put up a memorial in their honour.

Billy Guedalla worked for animal charities, fought for LGBTQ+ rights and campaigned against the arms trade.

They died aged 46 last October, and had struggled with their mental health.

The tribute in Butterfield Green, Stoke Newington, which sister Ellie said would be a “huge comfort”, will be a finished version of a mosaic Billy started before they passed away.  

Volunteers at the Hackney Mosaic Project, a volunteer art group that Billy attended, will complete the piece. 

Tessa Hunkin, who runs the project, said: “When [Billy] was here they started to make a much smaller mosaic, that had the quotation ‘Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light’.”

 “I thought putting [the memorial] in a public park had special resonance because it might help other people who found themselves in the kind of situation that Billy found themself in.”

With more than £2,300 raised so far, the group has begun work on the mosaic, which they expect to complete in spring 2023.  

Hackney Gazette: The mural designThe mural design (Image: Billy Guedalla)

Ellie said: “Billy made beautiful mosaics. They learned how to do it at the mosaic club. They made a beautiful one of a rat – they used to appreciate all the animals that other people called vermin. They could sort of see the beauty in them.” 

The finished piece will include images of pigeons and will use the mosaic materials that Billy collected in their lifetime. 

Tessa said: “They collected buttons and beads and shiny things, sort of like a magpie."  

The mosaic will not only act as a tribute to Billy, but to other members of the Hackney Mosaic Project who have passed away. 

Ellie said: “It's not just for Billy, it's for everyone."

The mosaic will be in the orchard at Butterfield Green, where Billy, Ellie and their mum would meet to talk, play football and walk their dogs. 

Ellie hopes the area can become “a little place where people can take a minute, ground themselves. Hopefully it can help somebody else’s mental health...Billy would really approve of people having that”.

Billy’s family have raised almost half of their £5,000 target. They are appealing for any donations on their GoFundMe page