Final tribute to ‘Britain’s Best Bobby’ Eddie Bennett from Upminster
�The wife of a former Upminster policeman – once named the Best Bobby in Britain – has paid tribute to him.
Eddie Bennett, 70, died after a stroke at his home on December 21, having been diagnosed with advanced terminal lung cancer some weeks previously.
More than 200 mourners went to his funeral at South Essex Crematorium, Corbets Tey Road, on Thursday of last week, including a number of former police colleagues and cadets.
His wife, Pat, described her husband as a “lovely and caring” man who loved playing and coaching football and boxing and helping police cadets.
She said: “He was extremely proud to have worked as a Barking and Dagenham police officer for 33 years and a police garage hand for 12.”
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Eddie was born in Blackburn in 1941, where his mother and siblings had been evacuated during the Second World War.
When the war ended the family returned to their home in Dagenham. After a few years working in a shipping office and for Ford, he decided to become a police officer.
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Eddie, who was 27 by this stage, threw himself into the job and before long joined the police boxing and football teams where he excelled. After competing for a number of years he moved over to coaching, which he would continue until just a few weeks before his death.
Eddie was also very proud to be a policeman. Pat said: “He never wanted to rise through the ranks. He was more than happy being a Pc. He wanted to be out on the beat, meeting people and helping the community. He was very good at that. He hated the paperwork that increased over the years.”
In 1980 his commitment and hard work was rewarded when the then 39-year-old was named Best Bobby in Britain by The Sun newspaper.
“He was nominated for the work he did at a youth club in Barking,” said Pat. “He coached football there and helped run discos. The youngsters really loved him, as did the many people in the community. There were always many tea stops on his beat.
“Receiving the award meant a huge amount to him, though he was always very modest about it.”
Eddie leaves behind three children and four grandchildren.