'Faithful friend' to many: Sunny Oduyemi is laid to rest
- Credit: Chantelle Billson
The Romford community have paid their final respects to a “wonderful son, brother” and “faithful friend” at his funeral.
Sunday "Sunny" Abayomi Oduyemi suddenly passed away on September 11 this year.
He was known by “the whole of South Street” in Romford and for a time, worked in McDonald's on that road.
At 2pm on October 4, family, friends and neighbours of Sunny Oduyemi, who was 32 when he died, joined together in a service of thanksgiving of his life at the Romford Baptist Church.
Sunny’s sister Remi, in a tribute written in the order of service, said Sunny was a “beautiful soul”, a “wonderful son, brother” and “faithful friend", and watching him grow was “an incredible privilege”.
His sister Abi thanked him for being the “sunshine” in their lives.
Sunny’s brother David added there are "no words” to describe Sunny's infectious positive personality.
The service, which was opened with a speech by Reverend Ian Bunce, saw Sunny’s family, friends and co-workers share their memories.
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David expressed his gratitude for the many tributes he has read and asked people to remember his brother by the smile he put on their faces.
Sunny’s friend Mandy Louise Kelly said: “We will always remember you; you were so gentle and kind, these memories will stay with us forever.
"What we would give to see one more of your little smiles.
“You made so many friends and we’re so grateful to know someone like you.”
Idris Urhum, who worked with Sunny at Hamley’s, said everyone who walked into the store “got a smile, got a laugh and got joy”.
He added: “He was the most genuine, heartfelt, loving person I have ever met in my life.
"Just seeing him every day gave me peace and joy knowing he was there.”
Sunny's friend Corrine Ovenden described how he will be missed and recalled fond memories of his love of conversation and his ability to befriend people with ease.
One of his neighbours, Sheila Lowery, said she “totally appreciated” all the help he gave her.
Sheila said she was happy to help Sunny when his washing machine broke because it was an opportunity to give “something in return” for his friendship.
Pastor Jide Fawunmi said Sunny was “humble, gentle and very caring”.
During the exhortation, he asked attendees what impact they are making and what did they think people would say "when death calls” to emphasise Sunny's positive effect on those around him.
Boney M's Sunny was played as his casket was carried to the hearse, which was headed for Romford Cemetery.
A reception back at the church saw people sharing further tributes to Sunny.
Corrine and her partner stood up and spoke of how much he meant to them.
She said: “There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about him."
Neighbour Zak Chapelle said Sunny was “remarkably good-natured, full of innocence and fun”.
Attendees had been asked to wear a touch of red as a nod to Sunny’s love of Arsenal, and Zak joked he considered wearing his whole Man United kit just to have a “last bit of banter" with Sunny.
Another friend, Jon Brown, suggested South Street be renamed "Sunny South Street" in the well-loved man's memory.
Richard Adewale spoke to share how he missed Sunny “so much” and felt a part of him was now missing.
He added: “I am grateful that he is my true best friend who I have known since I was five years old.”
Sunny leaves behind Caroline, 75; David, 47; and three sisters, Abi, Remi and Tope.
His 73-year-old father Abiola Oduyemi died two years ago.
Sunny's family are asking for donations to Epilepsy Research UK, a charity they chose because they believe he died from an epileptic fit.
Further information on fundraising events in Sunny's memory and funeral details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/sunny.oduyemi