London Mayor Sadiq Khan hailed Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole as the best in London as he helped unveil a plaque where he jumped into the Thames to save a drowning woman.
Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, known as Jimi, shouted “I have to save her, she’s not dying” before counting to three and plunging into the water in April 2021.
The 20-year-old was tragically found dead six hours later near London Bridge in what police described as a “sheer act of bravery” to save the 21-year-old survivor.
Unveiling a plaque with Jimi’s bereaved parents, Michael and Olasunkanmi, Mr Khan said: “Jimi was a hero. His story needs to be told over and over and over.
“Replying to a woman who needed help, he knew he was risking his life to help another person and he paid the ultimate price.
“Strength, selflessness, courage, humility, courage, all these qualities are enclosed in this one man Jimi.
“It’s very important that this plaque is here. Because his memory and spirit must live on.
“He was the best of us”
Flowers were placed next to the plaque after it was installed in Cathedral Square.
Jimi’s brother, Bolaji Olubunmi-Adewole, said at the ceremony: “We are no longer sorry.
“Today we celebrate life now. We are grateful for Folajimi’s recognition. Many thanks to Living Bankside, Southwark Cathedral, the Mayor of London for making this possible.”
Jimi was walking with his best friend Bernard Kosia after a night shift across London Bridge just after midnight on April 24 when he heard the desperate cries of a woman in the Thames.
Mr. Kosia testified in the inquest that Jimi told him to stay on land because he could not swim.
During an inquiry at the Inner South London Coroners Court, he heard Joaquin Garcia, who had seen the woman as he was transferring to the bus, jump on first, followed five or 10 seconds later by Mr Olubunmi-Adewole.
In a statement read by the coroner, Mr Kosia said: “Jimi kept saying ‘I have to save her’ all the time.”
“He was very adamant about it. He would undress saying, “I have to save her, she’s not dying.”
“The woman was barely able to stay afloat. I heard her voice and she wanted to be saved.
“There was clear pain in her voice and she was struggling.
“Jimi turned around and told me you couldn’t swim. This man and I can and will save this woman.
“They counted to three and jumped in. Mr. Garcia jumped first, followed by Jimi.
“Then about two minutes later he was screaming my name, shouting ‘jump’. I heard him screaming and I didn’t see him anywhere.”
Mr. Garcia and the woman were pulled from the water five minutes later before police helicopters and marine crews began searching for Mr. Olubunmi-Adewole, which lasted almost an hour.
Among those paying tribute to the 20-year-old hero after his death was pop star Dua Lipa, who dedicated one of her awards at the BRIT Awards to him.
Mr Olubunmi-Adewole of Bermondsey was posthumously nominated by the London Police for a Royal Humane Society award to honor his “memory and heroism” for “courage and selfless actions”.