Strangers help raise 2k for autistic man's funeral (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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The funeral appeal has received 34 donations from people and organisations around the world
Buy this photo A collage of Rodney and Jessica set up for the appeal
A donation page set up to help fund the funeral of a young autistic man killed by a train on Christmas Eve has raised £2,000.
Rodney Larsh, 20, who lived at a care home in Chingford, was hit by a fast-moving train after he walked onto the tracks at Shenfield Station.
The donation page was set up on Friday by the director of a wholesale handbag company where Rodney’s sister, Jessica, is employed.
Director Samantha Blanc, 47, of Marc B, has a nine year-old autistic son Louis and has worked with Ms Larsh for two years.
Ms Blanc said: “Jessica is a lovely young girl who has gone through so much.
"Based on our personal life, we both have something in common and the circumstances in which she lost her brother were terrible.
“It is incredibly upsetting so we are trying to raise as much money as possible to give Rodney and his sister’s the send off they deserve.”
The biggest donation so far of £250 was made by a handbag supplier based in China.
Ms Larsh, 25, and sister Rosemary Nkestiah, 31, said they were overwhelmed by the support from strangers, the autism community and Whitefield School in Walthamstow, which Rodney attended for 15 years.
Ms Nkestiah said: “We are overwhelmed by the amount of people that want to help, it’s just so humbling but at the same time tragic.
"Jessica’s workplace has been so wonderful and people we don’t know have just been reaching out to us.
“It’s mad because we’ve had people telling us stories about times they've shared with Rodney, and although he couldn’t verbally communicate, he touched so many people it's hard to comprehend."
Whitefield School, in MacDonald Road, gave the sister’s money to pay for the cost of the under-takers and towards the cremation service, scheduled to take place tomorrow.
Mr Larsh will be laid to rest with his mother who died in 2004 and eldest brother Joe who died in 2010.
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