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Simonne Kerr: Tributes to Wembley campaigner and Britain’s Got Talent finalist stabbed to death in Battersea

PUBLISHED: 17:08 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 17 August 2018

Simonne Kerr with her son Kavele    Picture: NHS Blood & Transplant

Simonne Kerr with her son Kavele Picture: NHS Blood & Transplant

Archant

Tributes have been paid to a young Wembley mum who was stabbed to death in south London this week.

Simonne Kerr, a volunteer at Harlesden’s Sickle Cell Society (SCS), was killed on Wednesday. She had campaigned for blood donors following the death of her six-year-old son Kavele in 2015.

She hit national screens as a finalist on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year, where she sang with the B Positive Choir – a group whose lives had all been touched in some way by blood donation.

The 31-year-old was found by police in Grayshott Road, Battersea, where she died at 1.41pm from multiple stab injuries, Scotland Yard said.

A haematology and oncology nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, Simonne also had the sickle cell trait.

She raised her young son, Kavele, who tragically died from complications with the disorder in October 2015.

She was dedicated to raising awareness of sickle cell disorders and the importance of blood donation, and found an outlet through the B Positive Choir and the SCS in Station Road.

A statement from the SCS today said: “We are so grateful for all support and friendship she has given us and for her passion for improving the lives of people living with sickle cell and their families.

“She will be deeply missed. Our sincere condolences go out to her friends and family.”

The young mother spoke exclusively to the Brent & Kilburn Times in May ahead of the BGT semi-finals.

She said: “For a long time I couldn’t talk about it [Kavele’s death] – still sometimes it’s hard.

“The choir is massive therapy. It really helps. A lot of the people have sickle cell themselves. It’s nice to see them when they are well. Sometimes they come to practice after they’ve had a crisis. It’s uplifting, to see these adults living their lives and living to a great age.”

We spoke to her on Monday, when she confirmed she wouldn’t be performing with B Positive at the Luv Gospel Festival taking place in Wembley next Friday as she was on shift to work.

Of the BGT rehearsals, she said: “It’s so nice to be with everyone. It’s been tiring but so much fun. I deal with sickle cell patients on the ward and it can be so morbid when people are so ill. It’s nice to be with sickle cell sufferers who are well. It’s not all sadness and pain.”

At Leopold Primary School in Hawkshead Road, where Kavele was a pupil, a memorial garden was built in 2017.

Simonne and the school raised funds to support the SCS in memory of the little boy.

John James, chief exec of SCS, added: “We were so shocked to hear the news of Simonne’s death. She was a good friend to the Society and will be deeply missed. My thoughts are with her mother, siblings and other family members at this difficult time.”

A spokesperson from NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with Simonne’s family at this tragic time. She was a valued and respected member of the B Positive Choir who was passionate about the lifesaving power of blood donation following the loss of her son.

“The choir, NHS Blood and Transplant and all those who knew Simonne are devastated at the loss of a well-loved choir member and friend.”

Desmond Sylva, 40, Grayshott Road, SW11 was charged with her murder yesterday.

He appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates Court today.

Police said they are not looking for anyone else.

But anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting CAD 3183 of August 15, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Did you know Simonne? Contact the Times if you would like to leave a tribute by e-mailing Sam Volpe on sam.volpe@archant.co.uk or calling 020 7433 0120.

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