A fund has been launched to help pay for the funeral of young army cadet Kuzi Matope who died after being trapped in a house fire.
The 13-year-old was reportedly found unconscious in a hallway by fire fighters after family members tried to rescue him from a blaze at their Camden Gardens home in Thornton Heath on Monday March 25.
He was pronounced dead on Tuesday (April 2), at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, on Tuesday after being kept in intensive care.
His father Patrick and mother Mabie escaped the blaze along with their younger sons Ishmail, nine, and Patrick, three
A colleague of Kuzi’s father, Patrick Matope, has launched a crowd-fund to help the Zimbabwean family pay for their son’s funeral and so far it has £9,855 towards the £10,000 target.
In an interview with the The Standard Mr Matope paid tribute to his “charismatic and kind” son who he is pictured with.
The justgiving page reads: “It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Kuzi Matope, son of Patrick and Mabie Matope passed away on Tuesday 2 April.
“The family have expressed gratitude to the entire community for their support during this time.
“For those who want to continue to contribute and support this family then we ask that this is via the justgiving page as this is the most immediate need.
“As the family make preparations for Kuzi’s goodbye they will have increased costs associated with this and all financial donations big and small will help to ease this burden.”
Mr Matope, his wife Maybie, and their two remaining sons Ishmail, 9, and Patrick, 3, are “safe and well.”
The justgiving page was started by Jonathan Williams, who says he is a colleague of Mr Matope, a social worker.
Originally from Zimbabwe, the family relocated to London in 2016. The page says Mr Matope is a member of Sutton Children’s Service team.
Mr Williams says: “He is a social worker who goes the extra mile for the children and families he works with.”
As they are not UK citizens, the family have no access to public funds. The fire caused significant damage to their property, destroying furniture and personal items.
Kuzi attended St Joseph’s College in Beulah Hill.
The Greater London RFCA (Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association) posted on Twitter: “We are deeply sorry to hear that one of our own, Cadet Kuzi Matope from 149 Detachment ACF has sadly passed away. On behalf of the GL RFCA family we send our deepest condolences to Kuzi’s family at this terrible time.”
A man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s also suffered smoke inhalation and laceration injuries on the night, sustained as they tried to rescue Kuzi.
They were taken to hospital, but have since been discharged.
Another man, in his 50s, also sustained a minor laceration injury and was treated at the scene. Two children were also taken to hospital as a precaution.
The cause of the fire has not been established and an investigation is underway.
At this early stage, there is no evidence to suggest that the incident is suspicious and so far there have been no arrests.
To donate to the fund visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/patrick-matope
*This picture was posted of Kuzi and his family in happier times on the Just Giving page.