BEREAVED friends and family have vowed to raise money to pay for the funeral in his homeland of a man who died at Portsmouth International Port.
Mieczyslaw Siwak – known to many as Mitch – died in an incident involving two shipping containers last Friday.
Now, friends and family are trying to repatriate his body to Poland for his funeral, but have a serious financial hurdle to overcome.
For Mitch’s body to be transpored back to Poland, and to pay for the funeral, the family would have to raise around £8,000.
Magdalena Sawicka was a close friend of the 34-year-old, and said that the entire community had rallied behind their fundraising attempt.
She said: ‘The fundraising page was set up because it is so expensive to pay for the transport and the funeral – the family cannot be expected to pay so much money at such a difficult time.’
Magdalena said the reason it was so expensive was that Mitch did not have a Polish insurance policy – under which a part of the funeral costs would have been covered.
‘I have known Mitch since around 2008, and we were fairly close friends. I live near to Portsmouth International Port so saw him on a regular basis.
‘Mitch was a kind-hearted, friendly person – and was always pulling pranks on people. He brightened up any room he walked into.
Mitch leaves behind his parents, sister and one son. According to Magdalena, Mitch often talked about going home to see his family, holding them very close to his heart.
She said: ‘He would always talk about his parents and his sister – and would always make time for his son.
‘He went to Tenerife with his son back in February – I think his son will cherish that memory for the rest of his life.
‘I don’t know if he planned on moving back there or anything, but Poland was certainly home in his mind.
‘It will be tough for all of us to move on, but by being together, we will get through this ordeal.’
The fundraising drive was set up on August 30, and has already raised more than £1,500.
Jaroslaw Jarecki was the one who set up the page, and will be attending the funeral in Poland. He said: ‘Mitch had a lot of friends in Portsmouth – everyone knew him and liked him. His parents came over here and they simply cannot afford to pay the funeral costs – it is heartbreaking.’
Mr Jarecki has also praised the response of the community, as people rally behind the goal of getting Mitch home.
He said: ‘The reaction from people around here has been wonderful.
‘Some are Polish, some are not – but everyone wants to see him get home.
‘Imagine your child died abroad, and you had no way of getting him back. I think that has really resonated with people around here, and we cannot thank them enough.’
Police were called to Portsmouth International Port on Friday, August 25 at 6.45pm after being told that Mr Siwak was in a critical condition. Paramedics were also called out to the site, but pronounced him dead upon arrival.
A 35-year-old man from Sussex has been arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and theft in connection with the investigation.
If you would like to donate to help get Mitch home, you can visit gofundme.com/powrot-do-domu-home-coming.