Final farewell to a ‘cheerful fellow’ - Town unites to give Jimmy a fitting funeral

Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161129001
Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161129001
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Popular Sudbury character Jimmy Davey was given a ‘fantastic’ send off on Tuesday after market traders, local businesses and residents raised more than £2,000 to pay for his funeral.

Bachelor Jimmy - whose name was William Davey - died in April and, at first, it was feared he would have what is known as a pauper’s funeral, organised by the local authority, as it was looking increasingly likely he had no traceable family.

William 'Jimmy' Davey ANL-160525-111838001

William 'Jimmy' Davey ANL-160525-111838001

In a heartwarming gesture of community spirit, numerous market and other traders in the town, his work colleagues and members of the public, donated money to a fund set up to give him a ‘decent burial’ and the appeal was published in the Free Press.

And, as a result, his great niece Maria Hall, from Great Cornard, said she saw our article and immediately contacted other members of his family living in Dagenham, Ireland and Florida to let them know Jimmy had died.

She said that, without the fund being set up, his family would not have known what had happened because Jimmy was not in touch with them. It would have been difficult to trace his family, she said.

Maria said: “My great uncle was a private person. He was known and loved by lots of people but he did not keep in touch.

Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161011001

Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161011001

“We’d just like everyone to know how very grateful we are to everyone, and we’d like to say a huge thank you for raising money. It will be reimbursed, and it will go towards a memorial bench.”

Attending the funeral with Maria, was Jimmy’s sister Sheila, 86, from Dagenham; Jimmy’s nephew Billy Hanley, from London and his sisters - Jimmy’s nieces - Patricia Whitehead and Anne Clerkin, both from Cork, Ireland and also Jimmy’s great-nephew Adam Brown, from Bury St Edmunds. Jimmy’s other sister, Maggie, 79, was unable to attend because she lives in Florida.

Mrs Clerkin added: “We don’t want people to think we didn’t care because he wasn’t in touch with us; that was just his way. We were gobsmacked when we found out what Sudbury had done for him.”

More than 100 people turned out to the funeral at West Suffolk Crematorium, in Risby near Bury St Edmunds.

Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161022001

Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161022001

Sudbury funeral director J Edwards - who donated a car free for well-wishers to attend the service - arranged for Jimmy’s funeral cortege to be driven on Market Hill in a final farewell to Sudbury.

On his coffin, his funeral flowers had the touching message; “Fond memories of a cheerful fellow, from the townspeople and traders of Sudbury.”

Jimmy, 74, lived in Windsor Place, Great Cornard, and was still employed as a factory cleaner and gardener at Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company in Alexandra Road, where he was known as a great joker.

Andy Poll, owner of the The Kiosk in Sudbury - who helped organise the fundraising - said: “It was a fantastic send off for Jimmy. A really lovely ceremony with lots of quips and fond stories told about him.

Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161033001

Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161033001

“He was quite a joker and, at work, he used to do things like tie the arms of people’s coats together, and his colleagues played tricks on him too.”

Jimmy, who was deaf, would ride a bike around Sudbury. Andy said the song Bicycle Race by Queen was played as Jimmy’s coffin was brought into the chapel. “It raised a smile and a laugh because it was so apt,” said Andy.

“Thank you to everyone in Sudbury who contributed to his funeral fund. It was a lovely community thing to do,” added Andy.

Mrs Clerkin added: “We don’t want people to think we didn’t care because he wasn’t in touch with us; that was just his way. We were gobsmacked when we found out what Sudbury had done for him.”

More than 100 people turned out to the funeral at West Suffolk Crematorium, in Risby near Bury St Edmunds.

Sudbury funeral director J Edwards - who donated a car free for well-wishers to attend the service - arranged for Jimmy’s funeral cortege to be driven on Market Hill in a final farewell to Sudbury.

Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161033001

Cortege for William "Jimmy" Davey travels through Sudbury on 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161033001

On his coffin, his funeral flowers had the touching message; “Fond memories of a cheerful fellow, from the townspeople and traders of Sudbury.”

Jimmy, 74, lived in Windsor Place, Great Cornard, and was still employed as a factory cleaner and gardener at Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company in Alexandra Road, where he was known as a great joker.

Andy Poll, owner of the The Kiosk in Sudbury - who helped organise the fundraising - said: “It was a fantastic send off for Jimmy. A really lovely ceremony with lots of quips and fond stories told about him.

“He was quite a joker and, at work, he used to do things like tie the arms of people’s coats together, and his colleagues played tricks on him too.”

Jimmy, who was deaf, would ride a bike around Sudbury. Andy said the song Bicycle Race by Queen was played as Jimmy’s coffin was brought into the chapel. “It raised a smile and a laugh because it was so apt,” said Andy.

“Thank you to everyone in Sudbury who contributed to his funeral fund. It was a lovely community thing to do,” added Andy.

Message for  William "Jimmy" Davey on funeral flowers, 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161044001

Message for William "Jimmy" Davey on funeral flowers, 24th May 2016. ANL-160524-161044001

Family of William 'Jimmy' Davey from left to right: Patricia Whitehead, Maria Hall and Anne Clerkin. ANL-160525-131338001

Family of William 'Jimmy' Davey from left to right: Patricia Whitehead, Maria Hall and Anne Clerkin. ANL-160525-131338001