A well-known Southborough chimney sweep held in high esteem by his hundreds of customers across Kent and Sussex had died.
James Hughes died in hospital in January and his funeral was held at Kent and Sussex Crematorium on Thursday. (February 24)
James was a member of the Master Chimney Sweeps Guild and a supporter of Tunbridge Wells Youth Football Club, where he sponsored the women’s section shirts.
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His business was called James The Chimney Sweep and he was described as “a generous, kind and hardworking tradesman from Southborough who kept hundreds of customers safe by sweeping chimneys for over 20 years”.
Tributes poured in on his ‘James the Chimney Sweep’ Facebook page with people saying how great he was at his job but also how much they loved talking to him, laughing with him and listening to all his wonderful stories.
One person described him as a “total legend” and a “true friend”.
Tunbridge Wells Youth Football Club committee member Ian Baker told Kent Live: “James was a long-time friend of Tunbridge Wells Youth Football Club, whose generous sponsorship of our women’s section has made a significant difference for girls’ football at local and wider community level.
“He was as generous in person as he was with his gifts and loved life to the fullest. He will be greatly missed.
“Our women’s section clapped a few minutes for James before their matches last weekend.”
James’ experience was unbeatable and he was HETAS approved. HETAS is a non-profit organization that supports cleaner and safer choices for the use of biomass and other solid fuels, appliances and associated technologies.
He was dedicated to protecting people from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and wildfires.
Generous with his expertise, he also mentored aspiring chimney sweeps in the industry.
He had swept chimneys in all sorts of houses, pubs and restaurants, private and public stately homes and even castles.
Among his clients were Hever Castle and The Knole Estate.
His clients were far afield, in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, Crowborough, Hadlow, Pembury, Paddock Wood, Maidstone and Orpington.
In the quarterly magazine for members of the Master Chimney Sweeps Guild, its president Lawson Wight said: “I can tell you that everyone who spent time with him will remember him fondly.
“Never a dull moment would be an understatement.
“Gala dinner guests will remember James for the large number of raffle tickets he purchased each year and his unique celebratory dances each time he won another prize.”