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EXCLUSIVE: Popular Sikh found dead

PUBLISHED: 15:58 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:10 23 August 2010

A WELL loved member of the Sikh community was found lying in an alleyway near his home after he had died from a heart attack. Dharam Singh Dhaliwal, 65, of Beaumont Drive, Gravesend, who was among the first Sikh settlers in Gravesend in the 1960s, was fo

A WELL loved member of the Sikh community was found lying in an alleyway near his home after he had died from a heart attack.

Dharam Singh Dhaliwal, 65, of Beaumont Drive, Gravesend, who was among the first Sikh settlers in Gravesend in the 1960s, was found by a friend.

The married father of four daughters and one son had been cutting a hedge around the back of another house he owned in Beaumont Drive when he collapsed after suffering the heart attack, last Friday.

His wife Sewa, 62, who was out at the time with two of her daughters, was called home by police to be told the devastating news.

Mourners from across Gravesend and as far away as Birmingham have visited the family home since his death to pay their respects to the much-loved member of the community.

Leading the tributes this week, his son in law Steve Basi, 32, from Strood, who is married to his daughter Daljit, 32, said: "He was like a father to me, it was like losing my own dad.

"We are all so shocked that this could have happened to him. He was a selfless man, one of those people that always spoke from the heart. People would always come and get advice from him, from all over the community.

"We have had so many people coming into the house, it is a testament to what he was like.

"The biggest regret for all of us is that he wasn't able to live his life in his golden age. He was always there for you."

Mr Dhaliwal moved to Gravesend in 1968 and found work at the Northfleet Paper Mill. He moved to Middlesex soon after, then came back to Gravesend in the 1980s where he settled in Beaumont Drive. He was well known by councillors across Gravesham and by members of the Sikh Gurdwara, and would walk up to eight miles a day across the borough.

His grieving son Gurprit said: "What you see is what you get with dad, he would always give is advice, and he would always support us in what we did.

"It is such a shock for everyone in the family. But hew couldn't have left us in a better way than we are, he has done so much for us."

One of Mr Dhaliwal's good friends, Thomas Patrick Mcdonnell, 83, found him in the alleyway behind his home. He said: "He was such a generous man, no one ever had a bad word to say about him. When my wife died four years ago he did so much to help me. He was my best friend, and I will miss him greatly."

Mr Dhaliwal, who had three grandchildren, is survived by his wife Sewa, daughters Inderjit, 42, Jasbir, 33, Daljit, 32, Rajdeep, 30, and his son Gurprit.

His funeral is due to take place tomorrow at Medway Crematorium, and family are meeting at his house in Beaumont Drive at 11.50am.

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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