Shop owners and market traders have launched an appeal to raise money for the funeral of a bachelor described as a ‘real Sudbury character’.
William “Jimmy” Davey, from Windsor Place, Great Cornard, died at home on April 7 after a short illness. He was 74.
Still employed as a factory cleaner and gardener at Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company in Alexandra Road, Mr Davey had worked there for 23 years.
Fred Charman and Andrew Poll, joint owners of The Kiosk newsagents on the corner of the Borehamgate Precinct. who knew Mr Davey well, have launched an appeal to pay for his funeral.
Mr Poll said: “As there are no next of kin, he might have what’s called a pauper’s funeral - and we don’t think that’s right.
“That’s why we thought we’d start an appeal to give him a good send off. We feel it’s only right.”
Mr Charman added: “It’s so sad. He was a real character around Sudbury. We’d like him to have a decent burial.”
Mr Davey was known to market traders and often turned up in the early hours of the morning on market days to help traders set up their stalls.
He also often turned up at The Kiosk in the early hours to help out, said Mr Poll
“He was always helping people but he never asked for anything. The market traders used to give him a piece of fish or some cheese in return for helping them,” said Mr Poll.
“He was known as the midnight hawker because he was always looking around the streets for discarded items. He’d ride a bike down to town. He was deaf in both ears and had hearing aids. He was quite a private person, because of his deafness I think,” added Mr Poll.
The men are trying to find out what will happen with his funeral, as Mr Davey is registered as having no next of kin.
They are having to contact Babergh District Council, as local councils have a duty under public health law to dispose of bodies where no-one takes responsibility.
They are called public health funerals, but were known as pauper funerals in the past. In these cases, people were cremated or buried in communal graves.
A spokeswoman for Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company, Diane Sargeant, said staff were very shocked to hear of Mr Davey’s death.
She said: “He turned up every day without fail. There was only one Jimmy. He was a real character.
“He used to play tricks on people, and they used to play tricks on him.
“He was one of those people who you know you are going to really miss when he’s not here.”
Anyone who would like to contribute can call 01787 319498.