Redbridge clubs bid fond farewell after death of ‘real gent’ Ron Franklin

Clubs and groups from across Redbridge and beyond have united to pay their respects to prolific society member Ron Franklin.

Representatives from the Ilford Chess Club, Woodford Chess Club, Ilford Historical Society, Redbridge Music Society, Friends of Ilford Hospital Chapel and Friends of Valentines Mansion were among the mourners at Mr Franklin’s funeral last week.

He died of pneumonia.

A lover of music, poetry, history and an exceptional chess player, he made his presence felt over many years in the societies.

Mr Franklin, 69, joined Ilford Chess Club in 1965 and went on to represent Ilford in league matches across the country and become the club secretary.

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Chairman Jef Page said: “He was a very strong player, he played for the county at one point.

“There were so many great times it’s hard to pick one out. His strength was analysing games.”

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In recent years, Mr Franklin started coaching children, inspiring them to play chess and teaching them how to improve.

Many of his past and present pupils paid their respects at the funeral at Forest Park Cemetery and Crematorium on Monday of last week.

Doreen Weller went to school with Mr Franklin at the South East Technical College in Dagenham.

Years later, they met again as members of Redbridge Music Society, Ilford Historical Society and the Friends of Ilford Hospital Chapel.

She said: “He loved all music, particularly classical. He also played golf, although he was certainly better at chess.

“He was a great supporter of the historical society and was always at the meetings.

“Local history was his biggest interest. He was warm, funny, friendly and intelligent. He was a real gentleman.

“I remember one trip we had to St Alban’s Cathedral, I can’t remember what society it was with.

“The cathedral was closed so we went to a coffee shop over the road but we didn’t stop laughing with Ron all afternoon.”

Mr Franklin was born in Nottingham in 1942, where his parents had been evacuated to during the Second World War. But he was brought up in Ilford and lived in the area all his life.

He worked as a BT engineer and project manager, and met wife Carol at the company.

A memorial page to Mr Franklin has been set up where people can donate to Parkinson’s UK. The charity conducts research into the disease, which Mr Franklin had. Visit the page at

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