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Hundreds turn out for homeless man’s funeral in Leytonstone
An estimated two hundred mourners walked behind the coffin past Eddy's two favourite pubs, The Crown and The Walnut Tree, on the way to Manor Park crematorium
Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects to a popular homeless man.
Regulars at two pubs frequented by Edward Kuwateedza, known as 'Fast Eddy', have been raising money to pay for his funeral since he died following a stroke last month.
Helena Gannon, 41, a friend of Eddy’s for over 15 years, said drinkers at The Crown and The Walnut Tree in Leytonstone High Road raised over £1,400 for the service and for his ashes to be shipped to relatives in his native Zimbabwe.
Until last year, Mr Kuwateedza, 54, lived for 13 years in a garage behind The Crown, where he became “part of the family”, according to former landlady Mrs Gannon.
When she moved on to run another pub, Mr Kuwateedza became a regular at the Walnut Tree, where duty manager Billy Rowlands, 24, described him as “one of those characters.”
Mrs Gannon said her phone had been ringing off the hook since Mr Kuwateedza died with people wanting to pay tribute to him and offer their condolences.
“It shows the kind of person he was. I hope as many people as this fuss over me,” she said.
She added that she was overwhelmed by the turn-out, with the estimated two-hundred mourners unable to fit into Manor Park crematorium.
“I was shocked at how many people were there," Mrs Gannon added.
“Even though it was sad it was lovely. It would have been just what he wanted.”
Mourners walked behind the coffin as it was paraded past The Crown and The Walnut Tree before the service.
A wake was held at The Crown and Eddy’s favourite music was played.
Mrs Gonnan said: “We talked about all the times we had with him and it was lovely.”
Mr Kuwateedza was called ‘Fast Eddy’ because he would do odd jobs for people quickly.
He came to the UK from Zimbabwe over 30 years ago to study accountancy.
After losing a job in a factory in 2007, he was was made homeless and spent years sleeping rough in the Leytonstone area.
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