Wapping is in mourning today after learning that our friend Tanya Downs died on Thursday night 10 December, seemingly as the result of a hit-and-run.
Shock and disbelief has been the overwhelming reaction on hearing of the death of someone so young.
Details still unclear
The exact circumstances of Tanya’s all too premature death are still unclear but a press statement from New Scotland Yard (see below) says that the police are treating it as a ‘fail-to-stop-collision’ – or hit-and-run .
First reports were from the Standard and it was only on Saturday 12th December that Love Wapping saw Tanya’s name mentioned in a tweet relating to this.
Since then LW has confirmed with multiple local sources that it was indeed Tanya that was killed but a formal identification by next of kin has yet to be undertaken.
At around 9.05pm on Thursday night Tanya was found lying on the ground with severe head injuries in Cannon Street Road near its junction with The Highway just outside the entrance to St George’s-in-the-East church.
The unidentified passerby who found Tanya dialled 999 and went to her aid, performing CPR until the London Ambulance Service arrived.
Despite the best efforts of the ambulance crew Tanya’s injuries were so severe that she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Tanya was walking a dog – not her own – at the time of her death. The dog was unharmed and remained by her side throughout the incident.
The police scanned the microchip in the dog’s neck and by doing so were able to trace it’s owner and then Tanya’s address. Tanya’s own dog, Oscar, was at home at the time.
It seems fitting that someone who loved dogs so much should be accompanied by a loyal canine companion in the last few minutes of her life.
Leader of the pack
To add to the tragedy of losing her in this manner Tanya had only just started her own business, ‘Wapping Walkies’, in the last few weeks with the promise that “I will love your pooch as much as you do!”.
Tanya was often to be seen in Wapping Gardens with her beloved dog Oscar who brought so much joy to her and the other members of the Wapping Dog Club, described on Facebook as a group of dog-loving, socialising, Wapping-ites!
Many of her fellow dog lovers and friends have left flowers on Tanya’s favourite bench in Wapping Gardens just by the One O’Clock Club in memory of her spirit and determination.
Ladies with Lesions
LW first met Tanya some years ago as a result of her work with Ladies With Lesions ‘ a support network Tanya founded for women who suffer with or are associated in some way with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Tanya was diagnosed with MS in 2009.
Tanya fought MS with amazing resilience which was typical of her. LW remembers meeting her with her father one Sunday after he had treated her to lunch.
That day MS was doing its best to make life miserable for Tanya as every step she took required a huge amount of effort on her part. LW, as all her friends, was astounded by her determination to keep well in the face of adversity. Tanya made no mention of her difficulties that day, just chatted in her normal way.
A dog by her side
Wherever Tanya is now we can be sure she has a dog by her side.
The thoughts of our community are with her family and friends and if Love Wapping can help in any way please get in touch.
LW would, if the family agree, like to publish a full obituary when possible.
Appeal for witnesses
If Tanya’s death was – as seems likely – the result of someone running her over and then leaving her to die on the street the person or persons responsible need to be caught. And fast.
There is nothing we can do for Tanya now but we can help the police do their job.
Where you in or around Cannon Street Road near its junction with The Highway on Thursday night around 9pm?
Did you see anything unusual such as a vehicle speeding off?
Any witnesses or anyone with any information can call police via 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org. The smallest detail could help so please get in touch with the police.
Life’s a beautiful thing
This quote from Tanya’s Facebook page maybe sums up her attitude to life:
“So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.
This story will be updated as and when LW obtains further details of the circumstances of Tanya’s death from the police.
Statement from Metropolitan Police
“Police were called by London Ambulance Service at around 21:05hrs on Thursday, 10 December to an injured female on the floor and bleeding in Cannon Street Road, near the junction with The Highway, E1.
Officers attended and the woman, believed aged in her 30s, and suffering a serious head injury was pronounced dead at scene.
Whilst officers believe they know who the deceased is, next of kin have not been informed and enquiries are underway to trace them.
At this early stage it is believed the woman sustained her injuries as a result of a fail-to-stop collision.
The Serious Collision Investigation Unit has been informed and enquiries into the circumstances of the incident are underway.
Any witnesses or anyone with any information can call police via 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org.”
Update 14 December 2015
- Tributes to ‘hilarious, feisty and smart’ professional dog walker killed in hit-and-run (Evening Standard)