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Collingswood Manor Memorial Honors Camden Homicide Victim

Cally Britton was killed by a stray bullet at age 20, and leaves behind a daughter who will never know her father.

'Cally's Tree of Life,' seen here at the Collingswood Manor. Credit: Collingswood Manor.
'Cally's Tree of Life,' seen here at the Collingswood Manor. Credit: Collingswood Manor.
In September, a stray bullet ended the life of Carlington "Cally" Britton outside his Camden City residence, along with any chance of his unborn daughter to know the man who was her father.

Britton's was the fortieth of the nearly 60 lives the city claimed in 2013, and the one felt most deeply by the staff and residents at the Collingswood Manor.

In a facility dedicated to the compassionate care of men and women in their waning years, the loss of a man barely out of his tees has been felt deeply.

"He only worked for us about six months, but residents and staff came to love him," said Jan Carrato, Communications and Public Relations Director for United Methodist Homes of New Jersey.

"He was a good guy."

Traditionally, the Collingswood Manor sponsors a Christmas drive to benefit a local philanthropic cause. Autism Speaks, Alex's Lemonade Stand, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have all been prior beneficiaries.

Organizers of this year's holiday tree decided that it should support a cause even closer to home. Named “Cally’s Tree of Life,” its branches are adorned with pacifiers and baby yarn garland; festooned with paper ornaments that say things like "diapers" and"baby wipes," and people have been bringing things in," said Carrato. 

Cally's daughter, who will be named Callie, after her father, is expected within the month. Staff are hoping that well-wishers will help turn out in force to support the girl who will be born without a father.

"A lot of gifts have been coming in, and they've been provided by staff and residents, and also by residents' families and visitors," Carrato said. 

"This is a very nice way for the staff to honor [Britton], and celebrate him, and to reach out in compassion to this child who will never know her father." 

Carrato said the tree is expected to remain up through January 10. Visitors to the facility are invited to contribute. For more information, call 856-854-4331.

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