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Hundreds mourn Sihk who gave them a voice

PUBLISHED: 16:50 04 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:11 23 August 2010

FINAL RESPECTS: A huge crowd turned out for funeral

FINAL RESPECTS: A huge crowd turned out for funeral

HUNDREDS of mourners turned out to pay respects to a much respected member of the Sikh community. Dharam Singh Dhaliwal, 65, of Beaumont Drive, Northfleet, died suddenly from a heart attack on October 23 while maintaining a hedge at a second property nea

HUNDREDS of mourners turned out to pay respects to a much respected member of the Sikh community.

Dharam Singh Dhaliwal, 65, of Beaumont Drive, Northfleet, died suddenly from a heart attack on October 23 while maintaining a hedge at a second property nearby.

On Friday relatives, friends and councillors attended the funeral of the father-of-five, first meeting at the house before going on to Medway Crematorium.

As one of the first Sikh settlers in Gravesend his death has seen an outpouring of tributes and appreciation from those who knew him.

Kent County Councillor Leslie Christie worked with him over a number of issues, including trying to set up a one-way system on St Mark's Avenue.

Mr Christie said: "He worked tirelessly to represent the views of his community. You knew that if he said something he meant it and if he said he would do something he would do it, and there are not all that many people you can say that about."

Tamanjeet Dhesi, a Gravesham Borough councillor, also spoke of his admiration for Mr Dhaliwal saying: "He was very well liked in the local area, a very popular man and I would often speak to him about local issues.

"It is a big loss for the community. He did so much for others, and he will be missed by many people."

After the funeral mourners attended the Sikh temple in Clarence Place, Gravesend.

Son-in-law Steve Basi, who lives in Strood, said: "We had to get in coaches to take people to the crematorium and there were another 150 or so waiting there, so I think we must have had around 500 people turn out. What with it being mid-week the family was really touched at how much effort people had made."

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.

His nephew Rav Rana said: "My uncle achieved such a lot in his time here.

"He came over from India with just £50 in his pocket and what he achieved over the last 40 years is incredible and it shows how hardworking he was."

He is survived by his wife Sewa, 62 four daughters Inderjit, Jasbir, Daljit, Rajdeep and his son Gurprit, as well as three grandchildren.

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