Tributes to Pearly King of Newham who has died aged 79
- Credit: Steve Poston
Tributes have been paid to the Pearly King of Newham, who has died aged 79.
George Davison inherited the title from his father Bill in the 1970s and reigned for more than 40 years.
Nephew and heir, Kevin Howard, said in tribute: "He was a lovely geezer. A lovely bloke - so sweet.
"He loved doing things for charity. He would do anything for anybody and did it because it was in his heart."
During his reign, Mr Davison's fundraising saw him tour east London pubs, where he would perform cockney songs while fellow pearlies would take around the collection tin.
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Lambeth Walk, My Old Man's a Dustman and classics from Dame Vera Lynn's songbook were particular favourites.
Pearly King of Harrow, David Hemsley, recalled: "It was a voice you could easily listen to. It had a real cockney accent. Not quite Chas and Dave but similar."
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Mr Davison chaired the London Pearly Kings and Queens Society and was a driving force behind the organisation, according to Mr Hemsley.
A fundraiser for Blesma, a military charity for limbless veterans, Mr Davison appeared beside fellow Pearly Kings and Queens at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Mr Hemsley said: "He was a very calm man. George gave me a lot of training in how to be a Pearly. He was really good at that.
"He would help anyone, but at the same time he was very private in his own way when not in his Pearly clothes."
Although he grew up in Canning Town, Mr Davison moved in his work as a caretaker across the capital. He spent his remaining years in Yeovil, Somerset.
However, the devoted West Ham United fan was "desperate" to move back to Newham right up until his death, according to Mr Hemsley.
"There's not many of his generation left now. He will be a huge loss to the Pearly community," he added.
On what his abiding memory of the man will be, Mr Hemsley said: "Just being George. His kind nature."
Mr Davison died of cancer on July 13. He had no direct descendants.
His funeral is due to be held on August 9 with a memorial service to be arranged at St Paul's in Covent Garden.