Jimi the Hero: Petition to honour Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole amasses over 136,000 signatures


More than 136,000 people have now signed a petition calling for a memorial plaque to be erected on London Bridge in honour of Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, better known as ‘Jimi’.

Campaigners and members of the public moved to take action and are maintaining the charge to see Jimi recognised posthumously to “honour his bravery and act of heroism”. 

Jimi, who was only 20-years-old, had been on the way home from a shift at a central London restaurant on 23 April. Upon hearing the distress of a woman who had fallen into the River Thames, Jimi, along with another man, jumped in the river to save her. Sadly, while both the woman and man were rescued, Jimi’s body would only be found in the early hours of the following morning. 

The subsequent national outpouring has focused on the disbelief surrounding the tragedy but also centered on the selflessness of the act itself. A stream of testimonials from teachers, petition signees and friends have only reaffirmed that this has long been a central part of his character. 

One such person said: “I knew Folajimi when he was a student and this is exactly how I remember him, always helping others. He thoroughly deserves this recognition for his immense bravery in taking such a risk and subsequently losing his young life to save another. RIP Jimi, never forgotten.”

What has also become clear is that for those who knew him, Jimmy had long been a hero. More than 200 locals consisting of schoolmates, colleagues and loved ones gathered in Bermondsey Spa Gardens for a vigil in celebration of his life on Saturday.

Jimi means a lot to everyone, especially around South-London now. Everyone knows him as a neighborhood hero. To risk your life in such a way, you don’t see that every day. The fact that he was adamant to save that woman just shows his nature, his mindset and the person that he is.

Bernard Kosia, a close friend to Jimi, during an interview with Good Morning Britain

Many have asked for developments concerning reports on the length of the search. The BBC had reported the words of Det Ch Supt Oliver Shaw, from the City of London Police. He said that after the man and woman had been recovered officers, “remained on scene to assist the marine units and police helicopter with the search in the water. This was stood down by the Coastguard over an hour later”. In a separate interview, Matt Leat, HM Coastguard’s Strategic Maritime Commander, stated that his units “responded fully to the suggestion of a third person in the water.” 

Despite this, many have been left to question what more could have been done to ensure that his courageous act did not result in his life being lost.

Beyond the memorial plaque, Jimi has now received a nomination to the Royale Humane Society for bravery award from the city of London police. You can add your name to the petition and also nominate him for the Civilian gallantry award now.

Mayowa Ayodele