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Friends of Ipswich teen who died from Orwell Bridge fall launch appeal to send her ashes back home

PUBLISHED: 17:13 18 February 2016 | UPDATED: 08:44 19 February 2016

Weronika Stepien, 17, died in December

Weronika Stepien, 17, died in December

Archant

Ipswich teen Weronika died just before Christmas.

L-R Charlotte Hoy, Chloe Dyer and Weronika StepienL-R Charlotte Hoy, Chloe Dyer and Weronika Stepien

The best friends of a teenager who fell to her death from the Orwell Bridge in December have launched an appeal to send her ashes back to her home country.

Charlotte Hoy and Chloe Dyer, both 23, have set up a fundraising page to help Ipswich-based Weronika Stepien, who died just before Christmas, aged 17, be laid to rest in Poland.

Weronika previously attended school in the area and worked at a town branch of JD Sports for a short period before her death.

The teenager lived at home in Ipswich with her mother and brother until October when she moved in with Charlotte, who described Weronika’s death as “out of the blue.”

Weronika Stepien was a much-loved daughter, sister and friendWeronika Stepien was a much-loved daughter, sister and friend

“None of us saw it coming. We were looking for her – her brother thought she was in bed. We carried on with our night, but the next thing we heard was that she had gone missing,” Charlotte said.

“I had this feeling inside – I felt like something was wrong so we drove to the bridge. We saw an ambulance and that’s when the panic set in.”

The fundraising page has been shared by hundreds of people, despite only being set up on Monday.

“We wanted to raise money to give her mum her wish – to bring her daughter home when she goes back to Poland. We loved Weronika so much and she was a wonderful, beautiful friend.

“It’s been very tough, and there is a language barrier with her family – that is also hard. But we hope we have managed to give them some sort of comfort.”

“They celebrate Easter a lot more over in Poland – they make a big thing of it. It would have been Weronika’s 18th birthday on April 8 so her mum wants to take her ashes with her then. There’s a family plot waiting for Ronnie there.”

The pair hope to raise £1,000 so that Weronika’s mum can take her ashes back to Poland.

Appealing for donations on the page, Charlotte wrote: “More than anything in the world I want my beautiful friend to have the very best and this is it.

“The target is £1,000 but there will be other fundraising opportunities.

“I would like to thank you all for your support and from the little piece of Ronnie that lives inside me, thank you.”

A Suffolk police spokesman said no date has been set for an inquest into the teenager’s death, but the coroner will be holding one in the coming months.

To donate to the girls’ fundraising page, visit gofundme.com/weronikastepien

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