Tribute paid to stabbing victim

Michael Simwanza’s family have spoken for the first time today (Monday November 11th) about how close they are as a family and described him as a loving, studious and respectful young man with a good sense of humour.

17-year old Michael, from Farley Hill, was killed in Kingsway Recreational Ground in Luton on Saturday, October 30, and leaves behind his mother Julie Bwalya, aged 35, brother Francis aged 15, and sister Lily aged 4.

Michael who came to the United Kingdom from Zambia with his family when he was 6 years old began school at St Vincent’s Primary in Houghton Regis before moving to St Josephs School in Luton and then finishing his education at the John F Kennedy School in Hemel Hempstead where he won the bronze Leeds Mathematical Challenge award each year.

His mother, Julie Bwalya, said:

“We were extremely proud of Michael. He was very academic and really enjoyed school. He wanted to study engineering and enjoyed playing football games on his computer.  He was an extremely loving and polite young man with a great smile. 

“Michael was a great practical joker and the type of person who gets on with most people. He has left a big hole in our lives and all our family is heartbroken.  His little sister Lily doesn’t understand that he won’t be coming home and it is difficult to hear her telling us that ‘if Michael wakes up everyone will leave now’.”

Julie also wanted to say thank you to all those people who have helped her family during this difficult time. She continued:

“We have a large extended family and we have all been extremely moved by all those people who have paid tribute to Michael.  On Wednesday it would have been Michael’s 18th birthday and together with my family I visited the small shrine which has been put together in the town by his friends and this just showed us how many people cared about him.

“I would also like to say a special thank you to those who tried to help Michael while he was injured and especially to the man who I understand held Michael in his arms.  The knowledge that Michael was not alone is of great comfort to me and my family.”

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