Farewell to beloved Upminster figure

PUBLISHED: 10:34 24 December 2015

Pearly King funeral Arthur Rackley, age 90, at South Essex Crematorium,

Pearly King funeral Arthur Rackley, age 90, at South Essex Crematorium,


Emotional tributes were paid to a “man of honour, trust and loyalty”.

Pearly King funeral Arthur Rackley, age 90, at South Essex Crematorium,Pearly King funeral Arthur Rackley, age 90, at South Essex Crematorium,

More than 70 people attended a funeral for the Pearly King of Upminster, Arthur Rackley, which was organised by Havering Council.

Police officers from Havering and fellow Pearly Kings and Queens formed a guard of honour before the service, which took place at South Essex Crematorium, Ockendon Road, Upminster.

Arthur, 90, of St Albans Avenue, Cranham, died at his home on October 22.

He became a Pearly King in 1980 after his brother Jim died and was well known for his volunteering days, when he would stand for hours, with no food or drink, until he reached his target for donations.

In 2009, he was awarded a certificate of appreciation by the London Pearly Kings and Queens Society.

Arthur’s friends and fellow Pearlies, dressed in their recognisable black outfits, turned out in force for the ceremony, held last week.

The mayor of Havering, Cllr Brian Eagling, his wife Bunny and representatives from Saint Francis Hospice, Guide Dogs and the Rainbow Trust, who benefited from Arthur’s fundraising, also attended.

Saint Francis Hospice chaplain sister Rosemary Lenehan delivered the eulogy.

She said: “Arthur will be remembered by many as a man who more than fulfilled the motto of the London Pearly Kings and Queens Society.

“He was a man of honour, trust and loyalty, but he will also be remembered in his own words as, “Not only a Pearly King, but as someone who would help anyone’.

“Arthur was a dedicated fundraiser and spent countless hours collecting money for the hospice. He would never take a break and raised more than £8,000 for the hospice in the last two years alone.”

Sue Vosloo, 59, who first met Arthur 18 years ago, said the service was a perfect tribute.

She said: “A lot of people turned out to honour Arthur, which I’m sure he would have been touched by.

“The chapel was completely full. Everybody said wonderful things about him and we sang some of his favourite songs, including Maybe it’s Because I’m a Londoner and The Lambeth Walk.”

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