Hundreds attend funeral of popular Hellesdon newsagent

Peter WalshHundreds of people attended an emotional funeral service for a popular newsagent, who helped start hundreds of paperboys and papergirls on their way in the world.Peter Walsh

More than 100 people attended an emotional funeral service for a popular newsagent, who helped start hundreds of paperboys and papergirls on their way in the world.

Keith Widdows, 65, who ran newspaper rounds in Hellesdon for more than 40 years and owned the Especially For You florists and shop in Boundary Road for more than 25 years, died last month following a battle with lung cancer.

Yesterdayfamily and friends of the father-of-two and grandfather-of-four, who lived in Middleton's Lane, Hellesdon, went to St Faith's Crematorium, for a service to remember Mr Widdows, during which he was described as 'simply the best'.

Mr Widdows' wife Janice, 65, sons Andre, 42, and Aaron, 40, were among the mourners who followed the coffin, which was dressed in 101 red roses prepared by his family, into the crematorium.

The service was led by Rev Enid Jones Blackett, curate for the Hellesdon churches, who said Mr Widdows' death had not only 'devastated' his family and friends, but has also been felt by the community of Hellesdon too.

She said: 'We've come here to remember before God, Keith Michael Widdows. We've come above all to give thanks for his life and to celebrate all that was good, and there's so much of it, and true in his life.'

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She added: 'We all know he lived life to the full. He worked hard and thoroughly enjoyed his leisure time with his family and friends. He had so much love for you all and leaves a huge gap, but at the same time a wonderful heritage of memories. He lives on in you in your hearts and minds - the love and support he gave you will always be with you.'

The hymn Jerusalem was sung at the service, which featured a moving tribute from his son Aaron, who received a warm round of applause after bravely fighting back the tears to relive his own personal memories of his father.

He said: 'He was full of fun and had his own sense of humour. He would do anything for us and most people. He was kind and generous. He was the best handyman you could ask for - a self-taught electrician, plumber, and odd job man. He tinkered with things so he could make them work. We will remember him as a wonderful husband, fantastic dad, and great granddad. We will miss you, but never forget you.'

The service finished with the Tina Turner song Simply the Best, which was played after a dedication read out on behalf of his wife Janice, in which she described her husband as being just that.

She said Mr Widdows was a loving family man and friend, who would be remembered by so many for his sense of humour, kindness and love.

The dedication stated: 'I will cling to the memories and let them find a way to heal me. The love and the happiness and joy we shared will make me strong.'

Would you like to pay tribute to a loved one? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email