Let’s get Steve home to Jamaica for the first time since 1957!

** UPDATE NO MORE DONATIONS PLEASE please see this post for further info**

Hi here’s some more details.Steve – who is now my profile pic! – came to Hackney from Jamaica in 1957. He never married or had kids and still lives in Clapton by the Lea Bridge roundabout. I’m sure many of you have seen him around. He’s 65 now and on a state pension. I often talk to him over a cuppa in Chez Sam and was saddened to hear he’s never been able to afford to get home to see Jamaica one last time. He has family there so he would have somewhere to stay. He worked for many years as a mechanic at Gregory’s coach depot in Stamford Hill but has the same problems as all pensioners – his state pension keeps in tea and food and not much else. He didn’t marry or have kids so is pretty much on his own. His dream is to go back for a few months. Judging by the costs of flights to Jamaica and his need for some pocket money it would take about £2k to fund this – unless anyone has some good PR contacts at Virgin Atlantic!I’ve put a shout out on my facebook page and have donations of £200 already but am sure there are enough people out there willing to chip in £10 to make this happen.Wouldn’t it be lovely to sort that all out and have a tea and cake send off for him somewhere in Hackney?Before anyone donates anything I was going to have a word with someone neutral like the Vicar at St John’s to see if he would hold any donations until the target is reached. But it would be good to know if people would chip in a fiver in principle.Let me know folks!


  1. Hi @desb you should see if you can do this through a charity, which will mean people have the option to give through gift aid – that’s an extra 20% on top, which is a hefty amount

  2. good thought… a lot of my facebook mates have already chipped in, at this rate it’ll only take a week!

  3. I’d certainly chip in for this. Let us know..

  4. I’d be happy to chip in!

  5. I’d contribute!

  6. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Send-Steve-home-to-Jamaica-for-first-time-since-1957/138661926223544 Hi all. I haven’t managed to find a way to set up a donations site as a non-registered charity – not surprising really as I guess everyone would do it!  However, if you live in Hackney perhaps we could meet if you want to chip in or send me a cheque made payable to me Des Burkinshaw at 38 Sutton Square, E9 6Eq.  I don’t think I’m going to have much trouble raising the money we need but will give it back if we don’t for some reason. I bumped into Steve this morning and told him how things were going. He told me he was very grateful and then dropped the bombshell that he’d love to go because he’d like to see his parents again. As he’s 65 I took it they were dead, but, no, both in their 80s. He hasn’t seen them since 1957 but stays in touch by phone. I had a proper lump in my throat at that.  Do message me if you can chip in. I think I’ll be able to get about half the money just from my friends on facebook but every little will help. It’s a small story in a troubled world but everytime I think of my own daughter not seeing her mum for so long it touches me in a way I can’t describe.  Thanks to those who’ve pledged support so far. I’ll be in touch about collecting this when the time comes.Des

  7. Hi everyone.Shazna (my wife) has spoken to Father Rob at St John at Hackney and he’s happy to take donations for this. Could you drop any donations into him or give me a shout on 0208 985 1191 and arrange to give it to me direct. We’re raised about £750 so far so just need about another £500 to get Steve home to see his mum and dad for the first time since 1957!Des

  8. Two of my friends in the media want to do a film about Steve… I hope this means we can blag some flights!Sam at Chez Sam on Lower Clapton Road is going to  put a poster up. If you’re passing please do pop in and chip in a couple of quid to help.

  9. @desb I worked on a crowdfunding website that could help you fund the project. Have a look at http://www.sponsume.com. You never know…

  10. Lovely to meet Alex Pink this week. I heartily recommend his photo exhibition at Chats Palace if you are interested in Hackney then and now. And thanks to him for his donation.Several bits of news.The Steve fund is now at £700.Virgin and BA don’t do subsidised or free flights for anyone but sick children but 2 tiny travel independents have offered up their profits to find Steve a flight at cost….big business/small business ethics, huh?I think I’ve exhausted my friends’ generosity so time to go public and I’m going to do the following. 1) ITN and The Hackney Gazette want to cover the story.2) I’ve been a bit frustrated at how difficult it is to get money out of people (Bob Geldof – your foul mouth is forgiven!) and corporations so I’m going to make a short film about this next week. It might be considered a form of blackmail to read out those emails from Virgin et al but…3) My wife has spoken to Father Rob at St John at Hackney and he’s happy to be involved. I will see if I can get people to drop donations there.4) I’ve set up a Paypal account and anyone can transfer money to it by using my email address des@magnificent.tv If anyone wants to give me a hand with the film (I’m a director and have all the gear but it’s a nuisance filming yourself) do let me know. Just a reminder. Steve came here from Jamaica in 1957. Lower Clapton based Steve hasn’t been home since, he’s now retired. He hasn’t seen his parents, both still alive and in their 80s, since 1957. I’m trying to get enough cash to pay for his flights and give him some pocket money as well as deal with getting him a passport. I reckon £1500 is ideal but if I can get cheaper flights, maybe £1200. Which means we’re only about £5-600 away from doing this. People have been so kind. I’ve had donations ranging from £2 to £100 and it all helps. You can also reach me on 07879 811522 if you need to.All the bestDes

  11. Hi Des,I’m a trainee journalist covering the Hackney Downs area and would love to run a story on this but was wondering if you could tell me exactly where both Steve and yourself live as unfortunately I’m constrained to covering news within HD council ward boundary lines only – obviously I wouldn’t expect you to tell me your exact addresses but if you could just give me a road name or assurance that you’re within the ward that would be great! If you and Steve both live outside the HD ward however then please still let me know as I have friends covering other areas who may be able to run it instead.Thanks so much for your help,Laura

  12. I forgot to say – if you can think of any other connection between your campaign and the HD council ward area please do let me know as I’d love to help get Steve’s story out there!

  13. Hi LauraI think we’re both out of HD area. I’m in Sutton SQuare and Steve lives somewhere on Lower Clapton Road.  Hopefully the Gazette and/or Hackney Citizen are covering this anyway and I think ITN are going to do a little piece.   But give me a call if you want to chat further. 07879 811 522.Thanks for your interestDes

  14. I’ve been putting posters up in Lower Clapton in Chez Sam, the Round Chapel nursery and Father Rob is putting one up in St John at Hackney. £600 raised so far and I think we’re about £500 short at the moment, but if everyone chipped in £1 or £2 we’d soon get there.Sam at Chez Sam on Lower Clapton Road is collecting on our behalf, so if you’re passing, do poke your head in and make a small donation. Also, Sam’s lasagna is very nice! If you want to put up a poster somewhere, let me know and I’ll send you an A3 or A4 poster. file://localhost/Users/macpro/Desktop/steve.jpg

  15. Hi Des,Thanks for getting back to me. Sounds like it’s out of my area but I’ll have a chat to some of my colleagues and see if they could do a story on it instead although it sounds like you’ve got great media coverage already! Good luck with everything and I really hope you manage to raise the money.Laura

  16. http://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2011/10/community-fundraising-effort-for-hackney-elders-family-reunion/ About £500 to go! Sam at Chez Sam in Lower Clapton Road is taking donations. Even if you can only afford £1 it will all help. ThanksDes07879 811522

  17. IMPORTANT! NO MORE DONATIONS PLEASE!!!For sensitve reasons I cannot go into we won’t be able to send Steve to Jamaica now after all, sadly. We managed to raise just over £800 quite quickly and Steve and I have both been very touched by people’s generosity. I will be refunding everyone over the next few days. Thanks so much for your generosity of spirit but I don’t have any choice I’m sad to say.

  18. Oh how frustrating. And it seemed like such a worthy cause. Is there really nothing else we can do?

  19. Unfortunately not. Basically I bumped into his social worker in Chez Sam and it’s just not possible for various reasons. Would like to say more but can’t.  I saw Steve this morning and he’s taken it all in good spirits and is amazed so many people wanted to help. Still, I enjoyed going all Bob Geldof on my mates on Facebook!  Thanks to everyone who did contribute. I kept a pretty good list but if you contributed and I haven’t refunded yet, please message me and I will do so – that includes you Alex Pink!

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