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Pals leave tribute as Swindon's ‘Codger’ is laid to rest
A HOMELESS man who died after sleeping rough was laid to rest yesterday as pals marked his passing with a graffiti tribute on a town centre car park.
Kevin Dunne, whose nickname was Codger, was a regular visitor to outreach services and hostels in the town as various professionals, charities and agencies are understood to have tried to save him from his addiction to drink and drugs.
His family held a private service at Kingsdown Crematorium yesterday morning, while Threshold Housing Link provided jackets and trousers so his friends could attend in smart wear.
Meanwhile, some unknown pals had sprayed their own unique tribute to the 45-year-old by writing ‘RIP Codger’ in black paint on the top of the Menzies Hotel car park, in College Street, where he had spent much of his time sleeping rough.
Mr Dunne had been a regular at the Filling Station, a weekly soup run and outreach service in Carfax Street.
A friend, who did not want to be named, said he had been sleeping rough for up to three nights at a car park in nearby Islington Street, near the Menzies Hotel.
Mr Dunne was known to the police through his association with drug users and drinkers and to the council and other agencies, which run a panel to monitor rough sleepers.
Threshold had been in contact with Mr Dunne since 1996 and had worked with him on many occasions during this time as he was an entrenched rough sleeper who had many issues that were related to his lifestyle.
Threshold’s CEO, Cher Sawyer Smith, said: “Many people will no doubt have their own distinctive memories of him and I think some might describe Codger as either a man of character or a loveable rogue.
“He stopped in Culvery Court, our direct access emergency hostel in Harding Street, many times. He never stayed ‘indoors’ for long yet over the Christmas period, which was one of his last stays, he managed to settle for 54 days, which was a record for him.
“We helped some of his friends go dressed up to the funeral as they wanted to be suited and booted. We helped them with suit jackets and ties, while some even saved up money to buy a few pieces to wear. Our condolences go to his family and friends.”
A spokesman for Swindon Council said their Environmental Team were deciding what to do about the graffiti.
Swindon Coroners’ Office confirmed it had been notified of his death on Saturday, February 16 and that an inquest would be opened and adjourned.