THE colourful life of prominent businessman Joe Kingham ended in style at his well attended funeral.
A Rolls Royce headed the cortege from his home at the Old Rectory in Wroot to the village’s St Pancras’ Church, accompanied by a jazz trio blasting out the jaunty strains of Down by The Riverside.
Villagers stood in their gateways with heads bowed as the parade passed, a lone motorbike ridden by one of Mr Kingham’s ‘biker holiday’ pals bringing up the rear.
With the small church filled to capacity, a good number of the 150-plus mourners braved the wind to listen to the service via transmitters placed outside.
The service was conducted by Rosemary Wheeler.
Rotarian Richard Vergetter praised Mr Kingham and wife Trish, who runs Kingham’s Deli in Epworth, for being great hosts.
Mr Vergetter spoke of the strong friendship that flourished despite him being “politically poles apart” from Mr Kingham, their shared love of drama, and the modesty of the man who would shrug off his success by saying he just had “the ability to turn a shilling in to one and six.”
When the former bathroom business boss and landlord of The Reindeer in Sandtoft was told he was lucky, added Richard, he would say: “The harder I worked, the luckier I got.”
His mischievous humour was an intrinsic part of his character.
Ending his eulogy to his “highly intelligent” friend, Mr Vergetter quoted from Arthur Miller’s View from a Bridge, that the man was “not purely good, but himself purely.”
Sons James and Andrew paid their own tributes.
His dad was a ‘one-off’ said James. He “made a great contribution to the community, was tough, fair, worked hard and played hard. He headed several business enterprises, but was always there with a helping hand when needed.”
Andrew thanked all for attending, especially those who had travelled a distance. Some, he said, would remember Mr Kingham from his time at the Reindeer Inn.
His father loved cars, yachts, Harley Davidsons and travel, and had homes from Whitby to Spain. They had great and exciting family times to remember.
Andrew’s son Joseph and James’ daughter Hannah could not attend the funeral as they are in China. Both sent written tributes - Hannah’s in the form of a poem to the grandad she felt “lucky and proud to have known.”
Mr Kingham’s greatest practical joke was when he declared Sandtoft an independent state in the 1970s. He died last month, aged 74, after losing his battle with cancer.
Following the church service he was buried in the churchyard. A wake was held at The Old Rectory followed by a fireworks display.
He leaves a widow Trish, children Andrew, 47, James 49, Liz 39 and Sarah, 47, all of whom work in the family business, and seven, soon-to-be eight grandchildren.