Tributes flood in for ‘Mr Ipswich’ Kenny Barker who has died aged 89
PUBLISHED: 14:43 13 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:27 15 May 2017
True gentleman Kenny Barker was a “Cornhill legend” who brightened up people’s lives by chatting to them as he sold newspapers, the 89-year-old’s great niece has said.
Fondly known as Mr Ipswich, Kenny was due to celebrate his 90th birthday in June and his 29th wedding anniversary with his wife Janet later this year.
He died on Wednesday morning with his family, including his great niece Annie Lennox, 29, around him.
Paying tribute to “an incredible man”, Ms Lennox said Kenny was “one of a kind”.
“He was Mr Ipswich in every sense of the word. He was the heart and soul of the town and is most well known for selling newspapers like the Star on the Cornhill.
“He would stop and talk to people and chat with them in the street. He was a part of everyone in Ipswich.
“Kenny was loved by all of his family and made his mark on everyone he met.
She added: “He would sing songs to himself and whistle as he worked.”
Born in Browning Road, Whitton, he was involved in an accident with a bus at a young age which left him with lasting brain damage.
But this did not hold his “heartwarming” personality from shining through, Ms Lennox said, and he went on to take on a number of jobs around the town.
Aside from selling the Star he also tried his hand at professions like pot washing and completing odd jobs for tradesmen.
Although he did not have any children, he married his wife Janet nearly 30 years ago.
“He was an odd jobs man and tried to help everyone where he could,” Ms Lennox said.
“My great uncle was a true gentleman and that was evident right up to the very end.
“He was an incredible man who was one of a kind.
“A true Ipswich and Cornhill legend.”
The 29-year-old, who is currently studying at university, said she and other members of Kenny’s family have approached her to suggest erecting a statue or plaque for him.
She added: “Lots of people have been in touch and I think a statue would be a great idea.
“In the Cornhill where he is most well known would be fantastic.”
Thousands of tributes to Kenny have been left on a Facebook post written by Ms Lennox.
It has been shared hundreds of times and many Ipswich residents have shared their memories of the 89-year-old in the comments.
What are your memories of Kenny Barker? Did you know him personally? Pay tribute by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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