Tributes to ‘kind and loving’ former president of Seven Kings and Barking Sikh temples

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 May 2019

A funeral for Swarn Singh Kandola will be held on Thursday, May 2. Picture: Sangeeta Kandola

A funeral for Swarn Singh Kandola will be held on Thursday, May 2. Picture: Sangeeta Kandola


Community members are paying tribute to a kind and loving Ilford grandfather, teacher and former president of Sikh temples in Seven Kings and Barking.

Swarn Singh Kandola died peacefully on Saturday (April 20) after a short illness and his funeral is set to take place on Thursday, May 2 at 10.45am.

It will begin at his home in Rochester Gardens and then move on to the City of London Crematorium in Aldersbrook Road, Manor Park, before finishing at the Singh Sabha London East Gurdawara, in High Road, Seven Kings.

“He was a kind, gentle and generous soul,” his daughter-in-law Sangeeta Kandola said.

“What made him stand out was the time he was happy to give people. He would always try and help anyone in need.”

She added: “He was an extremely popular, well known and greatly respected member of the Sikh community in Redbridge.”

Mr Kandola came to the UK from the Punjab in India in 1964, where he worked as a teacher, and settled in Ilford.

He continued working as a maths teacher at Mayfield School, in Pedley Road, for more than 30 years where he rose to become the head of its maths department and taught, a then 11-year-old, Jas Athwal – now leader of Redbridge Council.

Cllr Athwal said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of Mr Kandola passing away last week, he was someone who helped shape my life, not only was he my teacher, mentor but was also a confidant at times of need.

“He was a kind man whose gentle approach commanded respect whether it be in teaching or in charitable work for which he donated his time freely.

“I will miss him greatly and if I can see farther today, it's because I had the good fortune to cross paths with a giant of a man. RIP 'Sir'.”

Mr Kandola became involved in the running of Singh Sabha London East's Gurdwaras in Seven Kings and Barking, working as treasurer, vice president and eventually president.

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“He played a critical role in establishing the Gurdwara for local people - who held him in great esteem,” Sangeeta said.

“He would spend hours giving advice and trying to help people.”

Major Singh Bassi, the Gurdwara's current president, described Mr Kandola as “a very good person”.

“Whatever you asked him to do, he would help you do it – no doubt about it,” he said.

“He was very intelligent.”

Councillor Gurdial Bhamra (Lab, Clayhall) said: “Mr Kandola was a community man through and through.

“He sought to bring people together to create harmony in the borough.

“His death is a great loss to not only the Sikh community but the whole of Redbridge.”

He leaves behind four children and six grandchildren.

“We will miss him every day,” she Sangeeta added.

Ilford South Independent MP Mike Gapes had known Mr Kandola for many years, and also expressed his sadness at the news.

He told the Recorder: “Mr Kandola was an important person in promoting goodwill between all of Redbridge's communities and faiths, during both his time as the president of the gurdwara and his time as chairman of the Redbridge Race Equalities Council.

“He was a good man and he will be very sorely missed.”

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