Communities have chance to say farewell to 'Jimmy', who will not make his final journey alone

By Nub News Reporter

27th Feb 2024 | Local News

A Go-Fund Me page has been set up to cover the costs of a funeral.
A Go-Fund Me page has been set up to cover the costs of a funeral.

THE communities of Corringham, Horndon on the Hill and Stanford-le-Hope have been invited to contribute to a fund to ensure a fond farewell for one of the area's popular characters.

James 'Jimmy' Murphy was a well-known and cherished rough sleeper who made the highways and byways of East Thurrock his home in later years.

He was a familiar figure locally, sleeping in his tent in places as varied as the grounds of Stanford and Horndon churches – and occasionally in them to shelter from the weather – or under the Manorway bridge.

A self-sufficient man, he became an iconic figure and won respect for the way he chose to live his life, without troubling anyone - but in his own way. Jimmy passed away on Christmas Eve in Corringham town centre and, with no known family and no assets, was set to have a national health burial, which would have seen little or no ceremony and he would be laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Thurrock Council's plot at Grays New Cemetery.

However, local people including residents, councillors and businesses, believe Jimmy deserves a fitting send off and they have contributed to a fund to cover the costs of a funeral when the people of the area's communities will have an opportunity to say a final farewell.

Corringham funeral directors DJC Cotton & Sons have generously offered their services free, so this fund will cover incidental costs including a service and cremation at Pitsea on a date to be arranged. And will contribute to a fitting memorial that will be placed locally so Jimmy will have an eternal place to be remembered.

Rev Tom Rout of St Margaret's Church, Stanford-le-Hope, will lead at the service but will be inviting representatives of all faiths to contribute if they wish. Jimmy's origins were in Ireland but it is unknown if he was a man of any particular faith.

Rev Rout said: "It will be an honour to take part in an event that shows the best of our community and I hope representatives of other faiths may wish to take part to share in the moment of togetherness."

Borough mayor Cllr Sue Little met Jimmy on his travels and said: "I have been following events since the sad news of Jimmy's death and am delighted that there is an opportunity now for our local communities to come together and say farewell.

"Jimmy may not have a led a conventional life, but from what little I know of him, he lived it his way. He was certainly a proud man and I know he was honoured to have completed maritime service.

"It is a shame it has not been possible to track down any family but perhaps, now we have this news of a service and a little more time to react, word will get about and some more detail will emerge.

"Whether or not that happens, it is heartening to know that Jimmy will not make his final journey alone."

One of those supporting the funeral is Stanford-based businessman Blair Lloyd-Warne who added: "I often spoke with Jimmy and sometimes reflected on his life and his achievements. He rarely divulged a lot, he preferred his own company and making his own way, but I was always left with a feeling of endearment.

"I am grateful for having known him and so pleased that the local community now has the chance to pay its respects.

"It is a great and timely opportunity for people in our area to come together and share something."

The fund will be administered by local ward councillors and any surplus will be donated to appropriate charities helping rough sleepers and to the Tilbury Seafarer's mission, acknowledging Jimmy's maritime history.

Residents and businesses are invited to contribute to the fund. . Anyone who wishes to make a donation can do so via this link: https://gofund.me/71360256

     

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