Tribute to Hornchurch man recognised as a 'pillar' of the local community

Baldev moved to the UK in 1964 from his native India

Baldev and his wife Sumitra - Credit: Roma Coombe

A treasured father of two who was made an MBE for his work developing relationships within his community has sadly passed at the age of 85. 

Baldev Goyal, born in May 1937, moved to the UK from his native India in 1964 before being joined by his wife Sumitra and young daughter Mina in May the following year. 

Having worked as a teacher prior to his emigration, when Baldev arrived in the UK he took on two unrelated jobs and attended night school to become an accountant.

Within six months, he settled into a new home in Waltham Forest. 

Over the years, Baldev and his family moved gradually further east, first to Forest Gate, then Romford and finally Emerson Park in Hornchurch. 

Baldev and his wife, Sumitra, had two children, a daughter, Mina, and a son, Prem

Baldev and his wife Sumitra had two children, Mina and Prem - Credit: Roma Coombe

He established the Hindu Centre East London Association in 1967, and later founded a series of other important places of education and worship, including the Radha Krishna temples in Stratford in 1969 and Romford in 2008. 

Mina said her father's principal aim was to develop local relationships and people’s understanding of cultures, adopting an attitude of “live and let live, and let’s celebrate our communities”. 

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In 2008, Baldev was made an MBE for his efforts. At the time he was retired from running his accountancy practice, which he set up in 1975, but he continued to work with the council. 

Following a battle with sarcoidosis, Baldev passed on July 19 this year. 

While his death came sooner than she expected, Mina said he lived “a really rich and full life”. 

Baldev was awarded his MBE in 2008, in recognition for his efforts supporting his community

Baldev was made an MBE in 2008 in recognition for his efforts supporting the community - Credit: Roma Coombe

On how her father's passing will impact the community, Mina said: “How do you describe that huge hole? It’s a sadness. When a huge oak falls, you just have to take comfort in all the acorns that have fallen and taken root.

"He was not only a pillar of the community but also a pillar to individuals when they needed him."

His funeral was held on July 24 at the City of London Crematorium, South Chapel. 

Mina said: "It was quite amazing. We wanted to give him a good send off,  and there was a procession with chanting down Parkstone Avenue for him."

In addition to his wife and daughter, Baldev is also survived by his son Prem and five grandchildren. 

The family have set up a page to raise money for SarcoidosisUK in an effort to find a cure. To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-coombe1