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Hundreds mourn caring community stalwart in Leytonstone
Hundreds turned out to mourn a kind-hearted woman who devoted her life to helping others.
Julie Stephenson, of Newport Road in Leyton, died on September 24 the age of 56 from a heart condition related to diabetes
More than 250 people attended her funeral service yesterday afternoon at St John the Baptist church in Leytonstone.
Miss Stephenson was widely known in Leyton and Leytonstone for her community work.
She recently helped homeless Edward Kuwateedza, also known as ‘Fast Eddy’, get a house just before he died earlier in September.
Miss Stephenson’s closest friend, Isaac Samuels, said: “Even in death Julie fed the homeless,” as people she had helped came to pay their respects.
He described Miss Stephenson as: “Loving, open, very strong-willed and just so caring, giving and selfless.
“She needed people and people needed her,” he added.
After retiring from a career in social work ten years ago due to ill-health, Miss Stephenson continued to help people in whatever way she could, holding advice surgeries in cafes and running fundraising and community events.
Mr Samuels, 32, of Stewart Road in Leyton, said: “Even though her mobility was terrible, she volunteered for a HIV charity and advocated on behalf of so many people.
“She really put the social back into social work.
“She really believed in community and everybody knew her.”
Mourners raised more than £800 for Miss Stephenson’s favourite charity, The Vine Project, which supports vulnerable children through education in Africa.
Miss Stephenson is survived by a partner of 13 years, three brothers and her parents, who live in Lancashire.
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