West Hampstead pub regulars raise money to fly body of Polish barmaid home to widowed mum
PUBLISHED: 14:33 26 January 2015 | UPDATED: 14:33 26 January 2015
Drinkers at a pub in West Hampstead have launched a fundraising appeal to help repatriate the body of a former barmaid found stabbed to death at her home.
Natalia Czekaj, 34, was found dead on January 6 after police were called to reports of a serious assault at her house in Edgware.
A post-mortem examination gave her cause of death as shock, haemorrhage and multiple stab wounds.
The Polish national was a popular barmaid at the Alliance Pub, in Mill Lane, and was described as a “kind and caring person” by pub staff.
With her distraught widowed mother, along with her grieving family, said to be unable to afford the costs of returning Ms Czekaj’s body to her home country, the pub is now asking drinkers and residents to donate to a special fund
A statement on the pub’s Facebook page read: “We are all in a state of shock.
“Natalia was a kind and caring person who will be greatly missed by us and we know by many of you.
“Her traumatised mother, who is already a widow is now faced with the burden of returning her beloved daughter to Poland.
“This is an expensive process that the grieving family can ill afford.
“Although we cannot ease their emotional pain and suffering, we can demonstrate our sympathy and compassion by easing the financial burden of this process.
“Let’s show Natalia’s family that we, as a community, sympathise with their tragic loss and stand beside them in their time of need.
“She was brave enough to try to make a life in our city and we should be generous enough to send her home with dignity.”
Donations can be made online, in person at any Barclays Bank branch, or at the pub itself.
The fund will be administered by local residents Gill Heywood and Matt Bamford.
All of the money received will be sent to Ms Czekaj’s family in Poland and any administration costs will be covered by the fundraisers.
James Richardson, 34, of Berridge Green, Edgware, has been charged with Ms Czekaj’s murder and is due to appear at the Old Bailey for a plea and case management hearing on April 27.
If you would like to donate to the appeal, details can be found at facebook.com/thealliancepub.