Family and friends mourn a founder of Maidenhead Sikh Temple

Family and friends mourn a founder of Maidenhead Sikh Temple

Lucy Elder

Family and friends mourn a founder of Maidenhead Sikh Temple
Balwant Sidhu

The life of one of the founders of Maidenhead Sikh Temple has been fondly remembered by his eldest son.

Balwant Sidhu, of Braywick Road, was 79 when he passed away at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on Saturday, April 26 surrounded by his family.

One of the four founders of the Gurdwara in Rutland Road, which opened in 1985, Mr Sidhu devoted time and money in helping find a permanent site for the temple.

The father-of-five was also a trustee of the temple, a former member of its management committee and a former member of Maidenhead's crime prevention panel .

His eldest son, Sukhbir, remembered his father as a selfless and philanthropic man.

"[He was] very positive, very upbeat, never ever complained about anything," he said.

"He did have an impact on a lot of people."

Born in 1934 in Punjab, India, Mr Sidhu moved to Singapore at the age of 15 following the death of his father and went on to set up his own retail business.

In the early 1950s he married his wife, Daljit, and the couple moved to Britain in 1961.

After working in factories, Mr Sidhu set up his own business, BS Textiles, in 1981.

Sukhbir said his father was not a person who sought fame for the good work he did.

"There are things we are now learning about him," he said.

"Philanthropic work goes back 100 years in his family."

Mr Sidhu's grandfather served in the First World War as part of the British Army and after retiring from service in 1920, he returned to his village in India to set up a school for poor children.

Mr Sidhu continued to support the school, but declined an offer to have it renamed after him and suggested it should be named the Jiwa Singh School after his grandfather.

This was done in 2006 and Mr Sidhu was presented with an award of honour.

He leaves behind his wife, children and 13 grandchildren.

The funeral will take place at 12.15pm tomorrow (Saturday, May 3) at Amersham Crematorium.

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