Upset as seafront tribute to homeless woman ‘removed’

Tracy Patsalides
Tracy Patsalides

Friends of a homeless woman found dead on Eastbourne seafront say they were shocked to find tributes to her had been removed.

The body of Tracy Patsalides was sadly found in a beach shelter in King Edwards Parade on Tuesday (June 12).

A tree has been planted at Matthew 25 Mission in memory of Tracy Patsalides

A tree has been planted at Matthew 25 Mission in memory of Tracy Patsalides

Pictures, flowers, and messages in her memory had been placed at the spot where she had been found.

But on Saturday morning (June 16) they were no longer there.

One of her friends Sam Erridge said, “It’s a bit of a shock. The council cleaners have moved them all and thrown them all away.

“I was thinking ‘how could you do that’? It’s infuriating.

He added, “I want people to understand there’s a place where we can remember how she lived and who she was.

“For certain people that’s how they remember her, that’s the last place she was.”

Mr Erridge, who is part of the homeless community and volunteers at the Matthew 25 Mission, said, “If there was a little boy that was knocked down in the road the flowers would have been left there.

“It’s not fair, just because she was a homeless lady doesn’t make her less of a person. What’s the difference?”

In her memory a tree has been planted in the garden outside the Matthew 25 Mission, in Seaside, where Tracy used to go.

Mr Erridge said, “I want people to understand it from our point of view. She was a person.

“She used to light up a room when she walked in, she’d have a smile on her face. She was a lovely woman.

“We all knew her, she was a lovely lady, there was not a bad word I could say about her.

“She was quiet, funny, fun loving. She meant a lot to a lot of people, it was a big shock.”

A spokesperson for Eastbourne Borough Council today (Tuesday) said the flowers had been removed by mistake.

They said, “The flowers were mistakenly removed by our contractor during a routine visit to the seafront.

“As soon as the error was brought to our attention new flowers were purchased and placed alongside other tributes to Tracy Patsalides.

“We are sorry for the upset caused and send our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased at this very difficult time.”

Mr Erridge added if anyone needs help they can visit the Matthew 25 Mission, “We’ll never turn anyone away.”

There will be a vigil tonight (Monday, June 18) in memory of Tracy at the beach shelter from midnight, with people gathering from around 11pm.

Based in Brodie Hall, Matthew 25 is a charity which supports people trying to rebuild broken lives – including those struggling with various addictions, mental health issues, loneliness, bereavement, unemployment, homelessness, and ex-offenders.

To find out more visit its website or call 01323 726960.