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East End legend, Frank Whipple dies aged 103

PUBLISHED: 16:12 24 August 2011 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 August 2011

Frank Whipple

Frank Whipple

Archant

Legendary East End campaigner, football fanatic and devoted family man Frank Whipple has died aged 103.

The centenarian passed away at the Royal London hospital this morning.

Much admired in his later years for being the country’s oldest carer, Mr Whipple dedicated himself to looking after his daughter Peggy, who was born with severe special needs, in their Limehouse home.

His son Harry, 72, said: “He was a genuine gentleman with principles. He was always concerned about the people around him. We want to celebrate his life.”

Born in southern Ireland, Mr Whipple moved to east London with his family in 1916.

Having witnesses much unrest on the streets in the garment business, where he was a shop steward, he became stoutly political, and according to his family, loved nothing more than a juicy debate.

His left-wing awakening began early and he was involved in the 1926 General Strike, fought off fascists in Cable Street in the 1930s and worked as a policeman during the war.

A Millwall supporter since 1918, Mr Whipple was the club’s oldest season ticket holder.

The club described him today as a “charming, witty and engaging man”.

But it was perhaps his home life with Peggy, 66, which earned him the utmost respect.

Since his wife Lily died in 1975, the proud father made it his mission to give Peggy as full and vibrant a life as he could.

They became inseparable and Peggy would accompany him to football matches, greyhound racing and on holidays to Spain most years.

Peggy will continue to live in their home in Rhodeswell Road with 24 care.

Two years ago Tower Hamlets Council declared Mr Whipple a local hero and commissioned a set of photographs by Rankin.

The council today described him an “inspiration to many” and said he embodied the spirit of the East End.

Mr Whipple, who is survived by Harry and Peggy, a grandson and two great children, died after a battle with pneumonia.

His funeral will be arranged in due course.

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