Heartbreaking tributes have poured in for a ‘beautiful’ mum-of-two from Battersea who died suddenly on August 28.
Michelle Sparman, 48, left behind two sons, aged 11 and 8, and a partner of 30 years. Family described her as a ‘well-loved Battersea girl’ whose contributions to fitness have been praised by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London MPs.
Her partner and fiancé, Roger Stephens, 51, told MyLondon she would ‘always smile and enjoy herself’ in life.
He said: “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.”
Michelle took her own life and her death has rippled through Battersea. 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.
Michelle leaves behind partner Roger and their two sons together, Max, 11 and Sam, 8.
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.
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.”
Did you know Michelle? Would you like to pay tribute? If so, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You don’t have to suffer in silence if you’re struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help.
Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill
PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to other information
Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit
Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. Has a website and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58
For information on your local NHS urgent mental health helpline, visit here