A fund has been set up to help create a sculpture to commemorate the passing of Ella Kissi-Debrah 10 years ago.
Ella was just nine when she died – the first person in the capital to have air pollution registered as her cause of death.
Lewisham council is adding £2,000 to the Ella Roberta Foundation, to help create a sculpture of Ella based in Mountsfield Park, Stainton Road, Lewisham.
The foundation needs to raise about £15,000 towards the cost of the sculpture.
The aim is to create a pollution-absorbing sculpture to make the invisible threat of air pollution visible, raising awareness of the role air pollution plays in poor health and unnecessary deaths like Ella’s.
Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, Ella’s mum, and an influential air quality campaigner in Lewisham, has been working hard to raise awareness and prompt action to improve air quality.
The memorial will not just raise awareness of air pollution, it will also absorb nitrogen dioxide and use a real-time sensor to measure pollution levels in the park.
She said: “After the inquest in 2020, when the coroner found that air pollution contributed to Ella’s death, he wrote a report to help prevent any future deaths like Ella’s. In it he said how important it was that people became aware of the health impact of air pollution.
“I believe this statue will help do that. Please give generously and ensure Ella’s death helps others to live.”
The Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, said: “We think this is a great idea – a really special way to remember Ella, as well as an important talking point and way to improve air quality right here in the park.
“I’m delighted to confirm that the council will be contributing £2,000 to the fundraiser. I know how generous the people of Lewisham are from previous campaigns, so if they would like to donate to the fundraiser they can at the Foundation’s website.”
The site earmarked for Ella’s statue in Mountsfield Park is the flower garden circle near the Park Cafe. Meadow flowers will be planted all around the statue, alongside a real-time air quality sensor.
People can donate at the Foundation’s Go Fund Me page – www.gofundme.com/f/first-breathe-for-our-future-ancestor
Pictured top: Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, Ella’s mum, with Damien Egan, the Mayor of Lewisham, at the site of the proposed sculpture (Picture: Lewisham council You Tube still)