Newham bids farewell in claret and blue as charity founder is laid to rest

People lining Bethell Avenue to applaud the funeral cortege of Kevin Jenkins OBE and founder of Ambi

People lining Bethell Avenue applaud the funeral cortege of Kevin Jenkins OBE who is the founder of Ambition Aspire Achieve. - Credit: Ken Mears

More than one hundred people applauded the founder of a Newham children's charity on the day of his funeral.

People lined Bethell Avenue in Canning Town as the funeral cortege of Kevin Jenkins OBE passed the home of Ambition Aspire Achieve (AAA).

People lining Bethell Avenue to applaud the funeral cortege of Kevin Jenkins OBE and founder of Ambi

People lining Bethell Avenue to applaud the funeral cortege of Kevin Jenkins OBE and founder of Ambition Aspire Achieve - Credit: Ken Mears

A father of four, Mr Jenkins set up AAA in 2016 after having co-founded the Canning Town-based charity Community Links in the late 1970s.

Well-wishers wore claret and blue and sang the anthem I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles in recognition of the life-long West Ham United fan, who died on April 7 at the age of 62.

Real bubbles even floated on the air, blown from among the crowd as the hearse, which was topped by West Ham United's crest, passed by.

The applause lasted for 10 minutes, with members of AAA staff and former colleagues from Community Links among the throng outside Terence Brown Arc in the Park.

Members of the public placed flowers on top of the hearse as the cortege paused outside AAA's base on its way to a private family funeral service led by Canon Ann Easter.

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Friend and trustee Colin Grainger said: "It was a great send off and quite touching."

Mr Grainger set up a charity toy appeal 44 years ago with Mr Jenkins, who wrote a column for the Recorder.

People lining Bethell Avenue to applaud the funeral cortege of Kevin Jenkins OBE and founder of Ambi

People applauded for 10 minutes and sang I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles in tribute to the life-long Hammers fan. - Credit: Ken Mears

A former editor of the Recorder, Mr Grainger estimated between 150 to 200 people were there to pay their respects.

Included among them was East Ham MP Stephen Timms, AAA chief executive Jonny Boux and David Robinson, who founded Community Links with Mr Jenkins.

Mr Jenkins worked as a councillor for 28 years after first being elected to Greatfield ward in 1986 and then East Ham South ward in 2010.

MP Stephen Timms was among those paying their respects to Kevin Jenkins

East Ham MP Stephen Timms (second left) was among those paying their respects to Mr Jenkins. - Credit: Ken Mears

At the service, Canon Easter even wore claret and blue robes in tribute to Mr Jenkins' favourite club.

Ambition Aspire Achieve Chief Executive Jonny Boux talking with trustee Colin Grainger

L-R: Ambition Aspire Achieve chief executive Jonny Boux with trustee Colin Grainger. - Credit: Ken Mears

West Ham United's anthem played as mourners filed into the North Chapel at the City of London Crematorium for the service, while the Frank Sinatra hit My Way played at the end.

People lining Bethell Avenue to applaud the funeral cortege of Kevin Jenkins OBE and founder of Ambi

People in claret and blue pay their respects. - Credit: Ken Mears

A fund has been set up at the request of the family, instead of flowers, which to date has seen more than £6,000 donated to AAA.

Donate at kevinjenkinsobe.muchloved.com/Donate 

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