Lead­ing city Sikh mourned

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - UK&WORLD UPDATE - By STEPHEN BRIGGS

TRIB­UTES have been paid to a founder mem­ber of the Peter­bor­ough Sikh com­mu­nity as hun­dreds of mourn­ers at­tended his fu­neral.

The fu­neral of Gurcharan Singh was held at the Gu­rud­wara Baba Budha Sahib Ji Tem­ple, in Royce Road, yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Hun­dreds of mourn­ers trav­elled from all cor­ners of the coun­try, and even as far afield as Canada, to pay their re­spects.

Mr Singh (85) is sur­vived by wife San­tokh Kaur and was well re­spected in the city for his knowl­edge of Sikh holy scrip­ture.

He was an elder of the com­mu­nity and his fu­neral pro­ces­sion, which took place at 7.30am, in­cluded a float and mem­bers of the tem­ple read­ing from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book.

At the open-cas­ket fu­neral, mourn­ers were able to pay their fi­nal re­spects to Mr Singh in the tra­di­tional Sikh method, by touch­ing his feet.

The cof­fin was then taken away to Peter­bor­ough Cre­ma­to­rium in a horse-drawn car­riage.

The great-grand­fa­ther had lived in the Peter­bor­ough area for more than 50 years be­fore his death and was one of the founder mem­bers of the first Sikh tem­ple in the city – in Cromwell Road – in the 1960s.

His son Pu­ran Singh (61) now lives in Ot­tawa, Canada, but trav­elled back to Peter­bor­ough for the fu­neral.

He said: “He came to Peter­bor­ough in 1952 from Pun­jab in In­dia.

“He stayed in the city for a while be­fore mov­ing to March – but he came back to Peter­bor­ough shortly af­ter­wards and lived in Line Tree Av­enue for most of his life here.

“He was one of the founder mem­bers of the tem­ple here and was a ma­jor part of the Sikh com­mu­nity while he lived in Peter­bor­ough.

“He was very knowl­edgable about re­li­gion and es­pe­cially Sikh holy scrip­tures.”

He said his fa­ther car­ried out a ser­vice ev­ery week, in which he sang scrip­ture. He was a clothes sales­man by trade, but did lots of work in the com­mu­nity.

Mr Singh was fa­ther to three daugh­ters and two sons. He had 16 grand­chil­dren and six great grand­chil­dren. His son Pu­ran said he was proud that so many peo­ple had turned up to the fu­neral.

He said: “Peo­ple came from Ed­in­burgh, Manch­ester, Birm­ing­ham and Canada, as well as from across Peter­bor­ough, to be here.

“It makes me very proud that so many peo­ple came and made so much ef­fort to be here. The cas­ket was open for peo­ple to pay homage to him and to touch his feet, as is the tra­di­tion.”

Pic­tures: BEN DAVIS

RE­SPECT: Hun­dreds of mourn­ers gather round the cof­fin of Sikh com­mu­nity stal­wart Gurcharan Singh at his fu­neral. (METP-17-06-10BD108)

Pic­ture: BEN DAVIS

TRIB­UTE: Mu­si­cians per­form at the fu­neral of Gurchu­ran Singh. (METP-17-0610BD109)

FAREWELL: Mr Singh (right) and his fu­neral car­riage.

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