Michelle Sparman, 48, went from being the “fittest mum ever to not being able to cope” according to her distraught partner of 30 years, who has spoken of the family’s grief
Image: Roger Stephens)
Tributes have been paid to a ‘beautiful’ mum who has left behind two heartbroken young sons and her devastated fiancé.
Popular Michelle Sparman, 48, died suddenly on August 28.
The much-loved woman was recently praised by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan for her contributions to fitness in Battersea, London.
Her partner of 30-year-old Roger Stephens said she would ‘always smile and enjoy herself’ in life.
Michelle took her own life and her death has shattered the community, as the area rallies around the family with sons Max, 11 and Sam, 8, now facing life without their mum.
Her fiancé told MyLondon : “Michelle was a really well-loved person.
“She was enjoying herself – she was always smiling and enjoying herself. We came from different places, but she was always there. She was the love of my life.
“But from being the fittest mum ever to not being able to cope at all – it all just got too much, she held it all inside.”
Tributes have been left online by friends, family and other members of the community including the postman.
He wrote: “Sending all our love at this sad time. Michelle will be sorely missed.”
Another tribute reads: “There are no words to do justice to how amazing Michelle was and how much she will be missed.”
Michelle and Roger first met in 1992 through working at an educational centre for adults with learning difficulties in Tooting.
“I went to the work place and I saw Michelle going in, I thought she was beautiful. She had white jeans on and a red jumper, she looked cute as anything. And I’ve been with her ever since,” Roger said.
Michelle worked for the Metropolitan Police as a police dispatcher for 20 years, but had always loved fitness.
She trained to be a personal trainer and launched Fit SW11, a community-run fitness club for women and children that takes place in Battersea Park and nearby estates five years ago.
Her efforts in the community were widely admired and the Mayor of London called her the ‘Ambassador of Fitness’.
In December 2020 and in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Michelle opened London’s first fitness clothing bank where preloved gym clothes and sporting equipment are donated to less fortunate women.
She launched Fitness SW11 Apparel while she was self-isolating, it grew to great success and reached as far as America.
Michelle signed a deal with Decathlon and also appeared on radio and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch to promote her community work.
The two boys take after their sporty mum and actor dad, with Max playing for AFC Wimbledon and Sam auditioning for the London Ballet School and The Lion King in the West End.
Roger says Michelle ‘couldn’t be more happy and beautiful’ when she fell pregnant with their children.
He adds that he and the boys ”still feel as if she’s going to come home soon’.
Thousands of pounds have been raised online for the children’s future after Michelle’s friend, Becks Balson launched a fundraiser.
Mental health support
Helplines and support groups
The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected].
- PANDAS (0808 1961 776) runs a free helpline and offers a support service for people who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression plus support for their family or network.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk for more details.
- Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
- Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: [email protected]
- Paul’s Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: [email protected]
It reads: “Our community has recently lost local Battersea mum and fitness instructor, Michelle Sparman, who sadly, unexpectedly passed away on the 28th of August 2021.
“To help Michelle’s two young sons, Max (age 11) and Sam (age 8) with their financial needs during this immense loss, we have set up this GoFundMe.
“The funds raised will go directly to Max and Sam (via their legal guardian) and will help with the costs of birthdays, school uniforms, football kit, and after-school activities during this difficult time.”