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Camden New Journal - by CHARLOTTE CHAMBERS
Published 5 October 2006
The funeral cortege arrives at the church
A final farewell to Barney

Electrocuted scaffolder remembered for his gifts of friendship and laughter

MORE than 200 mourners filled a Gospel Oak church on Thursday to pay their last respects to Ralph Kennedy, the scaffolder fatally electrocuted while working on a council estate three weeks ago.

Father-of-two Mr Kennedy, 24, – known by his childhood nickname Barney – was remembered by friends and relatives as a devoted family man with the ability to make anyone laugh.
Many at the service in St Dominic’s Church in Southampton Road were visibly moved by the sight of his two children – both under five – skipping up the aisle as they were taken outside for a break.
Mr Kennedy, from Royal College Street in Camden Town, died on September 15 at the Mayford estate in Oakley Square, Camden Town, after touching a light fitting that was live.
The scaffolding labourer, who spent his teenage years living with his father in Manchester and who spoke with a Mancunian accent, leaves behind his partner, Kelly, and two children, Bethany, 2, and Bailey, 4.
Thursday’s mass ended with the words “Was that alright?”, spoken by his partner’s brother, Michael Ivory, who had forgotten his speech and, with touching spontaneity, sought the family’s approval as he reached the end.
He told those gathered how Mr Kennedy would be remembered as a “fantastic father” who would have laughed at the fact his tribute had been lost. “Barney would’ve loved that,” he said.
Mr Kennedy’s uncle, Bobby Sayer, tearfully recalled once finding his teenage nephew crying with laughter because he had fallen from a tree. Mr Sayer read from a poem he had written: “You were so full of life, you made us laugh. I would’ve been proud to call you a son. God bless you Barney, sleep tight.”
Father Timothy Gardner, who led the mass, called Mr Kennedy’s death a “tragedy,” but warned that the way he died should not be lingered over.
He added: “We have all suffered a great loss, none more so than Barney’s family, especially his children… [But] we must not dwell too much on the manner of Barney’s death, for it’s better to give thanks for his life.”
Contemplating what Mr Kennedy would be most remembered for, Fr Gardner said: “His love for his children, his great gift for making people laugh, his gift for friendship, and his love of DIY.”
He joked that Mr Kennedy’s playful sense of humour was clear from the song, Losing My Religion by REM, chosen to accompany the coffin’s arrival in church.
After the service, Mr Kennedy’s coffin was carried to a horse-drawn carriage outside to the strains of Michael Jackson’s You Are Not Alone.
An investigation into Mr Kennedy’s death, launched by the Health and Safety Executive and the police, is thought to be looking into whether proper safety standards were met on the site, where homes are being refurbished.
Depending on the findings, Mr Kennedy’s inquest is due to resume in April next year.


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