Calls for the Pearly King of Upminster to be honoured for his lifetime of charity work

PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 November 2015

Portrait of Arthur shot in 2012 by James Pearson-Howes.

Portrait of Arthur shot in 2012 by James Pearson-Howes.

James Pearson-Howes

Pearly King of Upminster Arthur Rackley spent his days fundraising in all weathers and this week after his death was dubbed a charity “warrior”.

The news of Arthur’s death have prompted calls for him to receive a civic award.

Charles Foster, 88, from Cranham, said Arthur should be properly honoured for all the charity work he did.

He said: “He was a very nice man who worked very hard for so many people.

“It’s only right that this efforts are recognised by the people in this country.

“He didn’t limit himself to raising money for charities in Havering only, he was involved in charities all over London.”

Arthur, 90, of St Alban’s Avenue, Cranham, was discovered in his home after concerned neighbours told the police they had not seen him for a few days.

He became a Pearly King in 1980 after his brother Jim died.

He was well known for his street collections and raised thousands for charity.

Michelle Gower, community fundraiser for St Francis Hospice, in Broxhill Road, said Arthur had raised over £8,000 in the past two years, with the overall figure believed to be several times higher.

She said: “Arthur was an absolute warrior for our hospice.

“He would stand for hour upon hour in Station Road, Upminster, come rain or shine.

“I remember suggesting he take a break or have a drink on a number of occasions but he always refused.”

He regularly attended charity events across London and his absence will be felt sorely by all the clubs and charities he supported.

Diane Green, Barnardo’s area business manager for east London and Essex, said Arthur’s selfless dedication will be missed.

She said: “Arthur was a regular and committed supporter of our old Upminster store, from his early 80s onwards.

“He would stand there all day shaking a tin and talking to the customers.

“Each time he came, he was there to do a job – he took it very seriously and he never accepted so much as a cup of tea for his troubles.”

Sandra Robertson, 71, from Rainham, said she felt “privileged” to have known Arthur, whom her family suspected was a relative.

She said: “I first met Arthur about five years ago at Little Gaynes care home where my mum was living.

“He immediately reminded me of my mum’s brothers.

“My mother’s maiden name was Rackley and they shared a family history of boxing.”

“We are convinced that somewhere along the line Arthur and Mum were related.”

“He will be sadly missed but I’m sure never forgotten as a much loved character.”

The Pearly Queen of Crystal Palace, Carole Jolly, said Arthur was a wonderful friend to everyone.

She said: “He was a very dedicated man and a hard worker.

“Whoever needed his help would receive it.

“He will be missed by all the Pearlies.”

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