Delphi in tribute to loyal worker

A father-of-seven from Great Waldingfield is thought to have died in a tragic accident after his body was discovered in a canal.

John Parker, who was known as Joe or Hagrid, was found dead in the Grand Union Canal at Crick Wharf in Northampton on Thursday morning.

The 63-year-old from Folly Road had a narrowboat in the area.

Mr Parker’s wife Helen said it was believed her husband, who worked at Delphi Diesel Systems in Sudbury for 45 years before retiring in 2009, had been cycling back to his boat from the shops when he fell into the water.

“We think he went into the canal at around 8.10pm on Wednesday but we don’t know how yet,” said Mrs Parker.

“It was icy and the bike could have slipped or he could have had a heart attack.”

Northamptonshire Police said Mr Parker was found by a passer-by at 8am, and his death was not being treated as suspicious.

Mrs Parker said the couple had been married for 31 years and had seven children, Lisa, 38, Maz, 37, Brett, 31, Stacey, 27, Casey, 26, Kirsten, 22, and Kyle, 16, as well as eight grandchildren.

“He was a family man and he adored the grandchildren,” she said.

Mr Parker’s youngest daughter Kirsten said her father would help anyone.

“He was very jolly and generous and he loved the canal, his shed and real ale,” said Kirsten, who has a two-year-old daughter Chloe.

Brett Parker, who lives in Brighton and was due to meet his dad for lunch on Saturday, said he was still coming to terms with his death.

“I spoke to him on the phone nearly every day,” he said. “He will be really missed.”

Police have filed a report on Mr Parker’s death and an inquest is due to take place at a later date.