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Regulars at a pub have pledged to raise over £2,000 to pay for the funeral of a homeless man who was “like one of the family”.
Edward Kuwateedza, or ‘Fast Eddy’, as he was known to his friends, was just 54 when he died of a stroke while sleeping in a car park behind his favourite pub, the Walnut Tree in Leytonstone High Road.
Mr Kuwateedza would sometimes help out at the pub when it was busy in return for a bit of food and somewhere to leave his belongings overnight.
Now the staff and the regulars are hoping to raise enough money to give their friend a cremation service and good send off. Good friend Julie Stephenson, 56, from Leighton, knew Mr Kuwateedza for 15 years. She said: “He was a lovely man. He was very proud and a humble man and he was always helping everyone else.” Duty manager at the Walnut Tree, Billy Rowlands, 24, said: “Everyone’s absolutely devastated. He was really a part of the furniture. He was one of those characters.”
The average cremation in the UK currently costs about £25,000 with costs rising to over £30,000 for the average burial. The social fund will assist those on benefits on low income to pay for a funeral but a £700 limit is set. According to research by Citizen’s Advice, which also found almost half of those who applied for help with funeral costs were turned down, while the average payment covered under 40 percent of the total costs.
In the case that no-one is able to pay for a funeral the local authority has a duty to provide a basic cremation or burial.