Dying for a Cause

Just over a week ago we heard the tragic news of 30-year old Claire Squires who collapsed and died running the London Marathon in an effort to raise money for her chosen Charity, the Samaritans. In just over week the amount of money raised in aid of Claire’s charity has topped £1 million and counting, surpassing her intended goal of just £500 more than 2000 times over. 

Running a marathon is said to be one of the most physically demanding challenges one can exert upon the human body and the last few miles are a real test of endurance and staying power. Claire’s determination to complete the course she had embarked and meet her goal,  meant she was willing to give it all that she had and ultimately this led to her sad and untimely death.

Life is much like running a marathon and living a full and purpose filled life is about having the ambition, courage and staying power that this young lady has and because of her efforts and commitments to this cause, her legacy will live on helping many people through the work of the Samaritans Charity.

Much like Claire, 16-year old Chanel Lee Easy went to sleep on 2nd October 2011 at the pinnacle of her own life long marathon. Her ambitions and dreams were to build confidence, self-esteem and creativity within her peers, children and young people to help them reach their full potential. Chanel left a legacy of proposals and plans for her initiatives, including fundraising and through this foundation these dreams and ambitions will be realised.

Claire and Chanel never knew that their time would come to an end so soon, but the both clearly knew what they were living for. It is now up to us to take the baton drawing strength from their inspirational lives.

Our condolenses go out to the family and friends of Claire Squires.


Knowing Chanel Lee

Music was one of Chanel's many passions

I had seen Chanel on various occasions with other youth that I had the pleasure of working with, initially to me Chanel seemed a quiet shy sort of girl, in October 2009 I delivered a music workshop called “Sistagurl” Chanel was one of my students, that is when I got to know her a little better.   Chanel was not the shy quiet girl I had thought but a deep thinking, fun, lively person who would say what she thought (sometimes without even fully processing it before saying it) I found that really funny, Chanel  was real and I liked that about her I don’t think she even realised how comical she was by just being herself.

Chanel had a passion to sing and flourished whenever she sang, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to meet and engage with Chanel as she taught me something also which was “don’t take life so seriously, chill out sometimes and just laugh”.  A bright beautiful flower that shall always be remembered by me, thank you Chanel for your joy and laughter, thank you Deborah and Glen for allowing your daughter to be a part of my life for that time. 

Tee – Youth & Music Project Facilitator 

Remembering Hunny Bun Chan – Talisha Cree Johnson

You know what Chan; you taught me a valuable lesson in life… “Never presume that there will always be a ‘next time’ in order for you to tell somebody something, always say what’s imprinted on your heart and engrained on your mind when you are given the opportunity!”

*She Sighs*

I remember when I heard the news and every inch of life in my body shattered to broken pieces of despair, agony and pain. Have you ever felt your heart hurt? Mine did. I promised myself I wouldn’t question God about it, but honestly sometimes I couldn’t help but contemplate ‘Why do the good always die so young?”

For me you were the exemplar representation of a young female who was destined for greatness! Its young girls like you who should have been broadcasted about in every media platform in order to show other young girls in society the true meaning of beauty. It’s a young lady like you who will be used today as a positive role-model amongst our generation to demonstrate that being beautiful is not just about your physical appearance alone; you portrayed something far greater and deep-rooted, which is inner beauty.

You were one of the most beautiful young ladies I had ever come across; you were a self-respecting person, full of grace, virtuosity, integrity and high moral standards of excellence! Mark my words, I believe your life will make history and your legacy will always live on.

What can I say? The time I knew you, was worth it! The first time I met you, you kept banging on at me about the fact that your Mom has known my Mom for years. To be honest at first I assumed you were barking mad! No not really, I take that back lol! But I didn’t have a clue what you were babbling on about…eventually we pieced the jig-saw puzzle together. Turns out my Mom and Dad knew you from day dot…small world?

Every time I saw you, you were always complementing my crazy, colourful dress sense and I quote ‘Ooh you look nice! Your kind-hearted nature made me feel good about myself, and I loved you for that! I remember our last proper conversation was at an event last year during August, the funny thing is you caught me on a day when to be honest I wasn’t at my best, I think I attempted to avoid every single person…but I couldn’t do it to you, when I say guilt licked me?

Most of our conversations were always about school, GCSE’s, A-levels, work (OH DEAR! We sound like couple of old Granny’s!) Naye mind! 😉 I remember me saying to you, I will inbox you to see how you are getting on at Sixth Form when you start and then you said you will do the same when I started my new course in London …but we never got to have that conversation. Which goes back to what I said earlier…“Never presume that there will always be a ‘next time’.

I intend to support the foundation by making time to attend events coming up in the near future and also informing and promoting the work of the foundation to others in order to raise awareness and enhance its profile.

I believe the foundation will benefit others in the community by changing mind-sets and overall attitudes towards life and enabling them to gain a more positive perspective so they can implement beneficial changes that will encourage them to move forward.

I would just like to leave you with this…when I read it I thought of you J

The premature passing of the virtuous woman

Key Message:

The virtuous woman, though she die before her time, will find rest.

Length of days is not what makes age honourable,

Nor number of years the true measure of life;

Understanding, this is man’s grey hairs,

Untarnished life, this is ripe old age.’

When I read this I instantly thought of Chanel, to me she was a virtuous young lady, pure, Godly and striving towards perfection in Christ. She was absolutely beautiful from the inside and out. Even though she went to Heaven quite early, I truly believe that she is now at rest.


Chanel was carried off so that evil may not warp her understanding or treachery seduce her soul’,

Whirlwind of desire corrupts a simple heart,

Coming to perfection in so short a while, she achieved long life;

Her soul being pleasing to the Lord

Yahweh has taken her quickly from the wickedness around her,

Yet people look on, uncomprehending;

It does not enter their heads

That grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord

And protection his holy ones

The Lord has so much more in store for Chanel

She has been taken to safety’

Have fun in Heaven Plum and don’t give God a headache with that laugh!

Love Yahh Long Time Hunny Bun

Mwaaah xxxx

Tee ❤

Remembering Chanel – Jhanee Wilkins


Where to start…I’ve known Chanel all my life, I grew up with her and we did practically everything together. We’ve spent tonnes of time with each other. Throughout our lives, I would actually say Chanel had a big hand in raising me, teaching me never to give up and that you can achieve anything with the help of God. Chanel was very positive and so sweet, she always kept me going when I didn’t want to.

She would make me laugh and smile and I’m proud to say that some of the most happiest moments of my life have been with Chanel and our Families. She always had ambition and thrived in everything she did Instruments, Dancing, School work she pushed herself and knew that she could get what she wanted with hard work.

I believe that the Chanel -Lee Smile Foundation will be of great aid to people, Bringing communities closer, helping people with their confidence and providing facilities to achieve their hopes and dreams. It will help our generation to understand that there is hope and we can be light in a dark place. We can all be like Chanel; the best we can possibly be.

-Jhanee Wilkins

Remembering Chanel – Chanel Masih (Friend)


I write this tribute for a wonderful friend who was an amazing role model, Before writing this tribute I pondered for hours thinking about what I could write about a person who meant the world.

I thought about how we met at primary school almost 13 years ago, I thought about all those wonderful moments we shared together as we grew up, and I thought about all those tears we shed together. Words can’t describe how much of a big part Chanel played in my life.

We met 13 years ago at Whitecrest Primary School where we started to grow in faith and learning. I remember those summer strolls with our mums back to my house after school for Mummy Deborah and Mummy Aves to sit and chat for hours and both us Chanel’s to run riot and just do what we did best, love and look out for each other. We’d play games, sing songs, and make up great dances and then before it would be time for Chanel to leave we would put on a show for our mums and perform what we had been working on.

I wish I could turn back time and go back to that exact moment when Chanel and I sat in my room planning what our lives would be like 20 years from then. We planned to be famous and get married to rich people and then open our own fashion line and then give all the money we made to children less fortunate. That was what Chanel stood for.

I have many memories of all those great times we shared and they are what I hold on to now. Although we have lost a friend, daughter or relative we must always remember that her life will never go in vain. She will live on through this foundation whereby her ambitions to help others and love them will be fulfilled on her behalf.

Chanel believed in a greater world, and that very world will always love and cherish her. She was a beautiful girl inside and out who loved each and every thing with all of her heart and that’s what made her what she is. She was perfect, that’s all you can say about a person who meant the world.

I am free

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free,
I’m following paths God made for me
I took his hand I heard him call
Then turned, and bid farewell to all

And if my parting left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
These things I too will miss.

Be not burdened, deep with sorrow
I wish you sunshine of tomorrow
My life’s been full I’ve savoured much
Good friends, good times
A loved one’s touch

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with all this grief
Lift up your hearts and share with me,
God wants me now… He’s set me free.

Remembering Chanel – Amanda Hemmings

The strength of Chanel’s smile will continue to linger everlastingly through a legacy that seeks to ignite the lives of youths and all who view their visions behind their budding potential.

Her beautiful hands bloom brightly with the gift of releasing fragrances of freedom that will build self-esteem, uproot pain and break down doubt within the minds prison.

The freedom of this empress’s dream falls in clusters of golden rain for all fighting to catch their dreams when it seems their lives are falling between the seams.

She shines showers of light and ladders of hope through creating opportunities through using creativity.

Her heartbeat beats her musical talent passed on like a baton as a present for others to be singing lyrics that loosen negativity and surface the reflectivity of the gifting that goes beyond the song sheet to showcasing a stronger personality prepared with the monitoring of role-models preciously overlapping each ribbon in rhythm.

Chanel drops peals in the ocean of tears of those trying to travel through tempestuous waves, waiting for a raft that will bring sound to their deafening silence.

She reaches towards a waterfall of rich communication and the unity of the community to cohesively pull together in harmony.

The strength of Chanel’s smile will continue to linger everlastingly as a force of marvellous electricity to be generated from generation to generation.

Dear Chanel,

Thank you for sharing your vision. It reflects your beauty, unselfish nature and love towards others.

Your Mum is so proud of everything you achieved and everything your vision will achieve through this foundation.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful smile with the world.


Amanda x

Birmingham based Professional Poet- Amanda Hemmings is an Artist that has helped develop various community sectors, businesses, groups and individuals.

As a Creative Practitioner she provides poetry & lyric writing workshops for children and young people, which have been recognised by schools and youth organisations as a tool to help build self-esteem, confidence and writing skills.

The performances and workshops expand to a variety of events and venues, some of which previously include BBC Radio, National Poetry Day, Black History Month, awareness campaigns, libraries and art centres. It further includes an event managed and hosted at Starbucks coffee branches, which showcases upcoming and established Artists.

Amanda Hemmings provides customised poetry for a wide range of businesses and occasions.

For further information contact amandahemmings@hotmail.com