Family pay tribute to Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes ahead of his funeral

PUBLISHED: 11:33 09 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:16 09 March 2017

Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes was a talented actor and dancer. Photo: Quamari's family

Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes was a talented actor and dancer. Photo: Quamari's family


The mother of teenager Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes, who was stabbed to death outside his school, described how she has been “overwhelmed” by the support from the community and shared precious memories

Thousands attended a vigil for Quamari. Pic: Angela BlakeThousands attended a vigil for Quamari. Pic: Angela Blake

Speaking from their Harlesden home, where 15-year-old Quamari grew up, Lillian Serunkuma paid tribute to her “wise” son, who loved and cared for his nephews and nieces, and was incredibly popular and fun.

Quamari died in hospital after being stabbed outside Capital City Academy in Doyle Gardens on January 23, where he was a pupil.

Thousands came to his vigil, where his father, Paul Barnes, urged people to carry no malice.

He has thanked everyone who has shown how much they care with their cards and contributions towards the funeral.

Quamari was very influenced by Reggae and his Jamaican background. Photo: Quamari's familyQuamari was very influenced by Reggae and his Jamaican background. Photo: Quamari's family

More than £38,000 has been raised from neighbours and people around the world, through Quamari’s Gofundme page, set up by his Canadian godmother Sasha Mitchell to pay for his funeral.

Mother Lillian said she had been “amazed” by the support of the community, with neighbours visiting and many cards from Quamari’s old teachers.

She said: “I feel so lucky to have so much support in such bad circumstances.

“It’s been really overwhelming to think that so many people felt that they needed to do something.

“From strangers, people abroad, even just learning that my son had so many friends.

“I’m really glad that the whole community understands that this just isn’t right, but I hope that it’s not just words and everyone continues to do something about all the unnecessary violence that people are having to go through.

“It’s not just Quamari who’s gone in the same way, there’s been a lot of other kids who had really bright futures and who had a lot going for them.

“We’re glad that Quamari’s friends have taken note and it’s been publicised in the correct way.”

Sister Lavina, 20, described how her brother was spiritually enlightened, discovering Rastafarianism from a very young age, even when he decided to shave off his dreadlocks.

She said: “He was like an old man in a young man’s body.

“His aura was so advanced, everybody that met him thought that.”

“He was very wise, and he was also very fun.”

Very popular at school, he was elected to represent his fellow pupils at the school counsel.

Quamari was very influenced by his Jamaican background on his father’s side, and his Ugandan background on his mum’s side.

He loved listening to Reggae music, such as Bob Marley and Dennis Brown, and he would research their life and philosophy.

His teachers recognised his dramatic potential, with Kenmont Primary School secretary Faye taking him to audition for the Royal Ballet, and his City Academy teachers recommending him for the BRIT theatre school.

He performed Shakespeare at the Lyric in Hammersmith, “with an urban twist”.

Cousin Charles, who came back from America to attend the funeral, described Quamari as “energetic, dancing all the time, singing all the time.”

His mother, Lilian, who is supported by her own friends is also grateful that Quamari’s friends still visit.

“They’ve all made me a promise that every single one of them is going to be someone special,” she said.

A 15-year-old boy has been charged with murder and he will return to court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on April 25.

Quamari’s funeral will be held tomorrow (Friday) at 10.30am at Sacred Heart Church on Quex Road, Kilburn.

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