Earlier today I attended the funeral of long-time Isleworth resident John Benn (left), from Dawes Avenue, who sadly passed away last week aged 78.
John's boys Richard and Christopher went to Worple Road Primary School at the same time as I did, back in the 1960s. But I came to know John himself, and his wife Sylvia, on the social circuit in Isleworth many years later.
Both were regular attendees at ICG social events, coming away with us on our old seaside coach trips as well as supporting quite a few of our socials at the Isleworth Royal British Legion. A quiet and unassuming couple, I often found myself a little nervous that they might have felt slightly uncomfortable in the sometimes noisy family atmosphere of some of those events, but they always came back and were regular and welcome participants. In spite of his overtly modest demeanour, John had a real sense of humour and was quite entertaining in conversation. His company will be missed by his many friends at the Isleworth Working Men's Club where, appropriately, the reception was held after the funeral.
John was also a bit of a handyman. On more than one occasion my wife Caroline has taken her broken and punctured bicycles to him, which he would swiftly attend to and never ask for anything in return.
The down side of being involved in local community politics and knowing so many people is that one loses so many friends. For me John will always rank among the best of those. It was a fitting tribute to such a decent man that the chapel at Hanworth Crematorium was filled to the brim with people who had turned up to pay their respects.
I would like to express my sincere condolences to Sylvia, his children, his grandchildren and all other members of his family.