Supporters of Jamaican restaurant in Walthamstow save the day after theft threatened business

A much-loved Jamaican restaurant left struggling after its jerk pan was stolen has been saved after supporters raised thousands of pounds in less than a day.

Sharon Watson opened St Best Jamaican Cuisine at the Crate building in St James Street, Walthamstow, in September 2019, after five years operating a market stall and in local pubs.

Her friend Zendeca Sinclair described how opening the permanent space had taken “hard work, multiple sacrifices and continuously injecting her benefit money”.

On October 4, the new business suffered a tragic blow when its jerk pan was stolen, with CCTV footage from that night showing a thief in a hoodie dragging it away.

However, a fundraiser to save Sharon’s restaurant instantly met its target, with residents raising thousands in less than 24 hours, and donations are still pouring in.

Thanking her supporters on Facebook on October 19, Sharon wrote: “I couldn’t believe my eyes with how generous my community has been.

“For once I am at a loss for words and, if you know me personally, this is never the case.

“You all are the reason why I’ll be able to carry on, you’ve all restored and reignited that flame and I promise you this is just the beginning.”

The fundraiser has now raised almost £5,000, with donations ranging from £5 to £2,000 from an anonymous donor.

The money will be used to buy the restaurant a custom-made indoor jerk pan to prevent future thefts and extra funds will go towards a deposit for Sharon to open an independent restaurant.

In addition to running her business, Sharon has cooked for night shelters for the homeless in local churches and provided weekly meals for Whipps Cross staff during the pandemic.

The fundraiser for the restaurant can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-stbests-jerk-chicken

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter