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Brixton legend Cherry Groce laid to rest

July 1, 2011

Dorothy “Cherry” Groce was laid to rest recently in an emotional funeral service in Lambeth, London.

Brixton legend Cherry Groce laid to rest

Dorothy “Cherry” Groce, better known as, the Jamaican Brixton resident whose accidental shooting by the police sparked the 1985 Brixton riots, was laid to rest recently in an emotional funeral service at in Lambeth in London. She was 63 years old.

The Portland-born mother of eight, who was left paralysed from the waist down by a bullet passed away on April 24, at King’s College Hospital after a brief illness. Hundreds of mourners packed the Brixton Seventh Day Adventist Church after a lively procession down Brixton High Street from the family home, complete with a brass band and horse-drawn hearse.

Various members of Mrs Groce’s large family were on hand to give tearful remembrances to the woman they all acknowledged to be the backbone of their family. One after another they approached the podium to share their memories of “Miss Cherry” painting a vivid portrait of a woman with a generous spirit, a curious mind and a sharp tongue, who, despite a horrific twist of fate, still managed to live a full life without giving in to hate or bitterness.

Mrs Groce, who moved to England in 1961, was shot in her own bedroom on September 28, 1985 during a police raid targeting her son, Michael.

Her son Lee, speaking at the funeral, remembered that doctors had told her that they would have to amputate her legs to save her life, which she refused to allow. They also predicted a life expectancy of 10 years, which she bettered by sixteen years, as she went on to raise her eight children and many grandchildren, despite being confined to a wheelchair.

Groce’s shooting outraged the community and kicked off two days of rioting and looting.

Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Anthony Johnson, who was among those present at the funeral, paid tribute to Mrs Croce, saying that he was well aware of her stature and status in the community which, although she was a victim of circumstance, she carried with dignity.