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Community gathers at Stoke Newington bus stop to remember homeless man Musa who died there

PUBLISHED: 10:16 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:52 05 August 2019

The vigil for Musa in Stoke Newington Road. Picture: Joshua Thurston

The vigil for Musa in Stoke Newington Road. Picture: Joshua Thurston

© Joshua Thurston - All Rights Reserved

More than 100 people gathered at a Stoke Newington bus stop on Friday night to pay their respects to Musa, the homeless man who lived and died there.

Musa, pictured in summer 2018. Picture: Mauro CocilioMusa, pictured in summer 2018. Picture: Mauro Cocilio

Politicians, charity workers and neighbours who had passed him as they went about their lives turned out for the evening vigil, which was organised by homeless outreach group Streets Kitchen.

Bus drivers even paused their service to pay their respects. One got out and wrote a message that was pinned to the shelter.
It said: "May you bring awareness through your death to all who struggle in this huge city."

Musa died in the early hours of Tuesday last week.

Musa had been camped in the bus stop on and off for about a year. He had accepted support late last year before returning in April or May.

The vigil for Musa in Stoke Newington Road. Picture: Joshua ThurstonThe vigil for Musa in Stoke Newington Road. Picture: Joshua Thurston

He is believed to have been a shoe maker by trade, and was remembered by some for working as a shoe polisher on the high street.

Musa had close ties to the Halkevi Kurdish and Turkish Community Centre, which used to be based in the building behind the bus stop, now vintage store Beyond Retro.

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Earlier in the day Hackney mayor Phil Glanville and councillors had visited the bus stop to pay their respects.

The vigil for Musa in Stoke Newington Road. Picture: Joshua ThurstonThe vigil for Musa in Stoke Newington Road. Picture: Joshua Thurston

He and housing chief Cllr Rebecca Rennison wrote, on behalf of the town hall: "In memory of Musa, and with deepest sympathy to his family, friends and the wider community who were all touched by him.

"No one should have to live or die in a situation like this on Hackney's streets, for that we are truly sorry.

"We will remember him and seek to do better."

The council has been criticised by some who say it did not do enough to help Musa, who had refused support repeatedly in the months before his death. There were messages on the bus stop saying "shame on you Hackney Council".

Another, written by someone named Dean read: "Musa, the start of my 149 journey won't be the same again, but every time I stand at this bus stop I'll have a little think back to the time you told me to f-off when I decided to bring you down some dinner, to be honest the shepherd's pie was dry, so you made the right choice.

"Sadly you are another victim of a failed homeless system this country will always hide. You'll always be remembered in N16 as our bus stop friend."

Ngozi Fulani, founder of domestic abuse charity Sistah Space, has launched a £2,000 crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a memorial bench or plaque to honour Musa. It has raised more than £1,400 so far.

Donate to the fundraiser here.

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