Heartbreak as town legend 'cheerful Charlie' dies suddenly

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

Tributes have been paid to a well-known Burton man who was always a friendly face in the town.

Mohammed Farooq, who liked to be known as "Charlie", was often found sat on a bench in Burton town centre.

The 56-year-old was always up for a chat and had a smile on his face, but behind it all he was dealing with heartbreak and health issues.

Niece Nadia Kashif said Charlie was her "best friend" and she still cannot believe he has gone, after he died unexpectedly.

Mrs Kashif, who lives in Horninglow, said: "Charlie had the kindest, softest soul.

"He was a gentleman and people connected with him straight away and fell in love with him.

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"He was always a poorly person, but when my mum rang me and told me he'd died, I couldn’t believe it. I was just devastated."

Charlie would regularly wander through the town and his favourite spot was outside Café Zen on High Street or on the bench outside Barclay's bank.

Mrs Kashif, 31, said: "He was always in town and he was an important person in the town.

"He didn’t have much but people would look out for him and he was always grateful for what people would give him.

"Charlie always had a smile on his face.

"He has always been a happy chappy and a peoples person."

The mother-of-three said "everyone in Burton knew him" and he "represented the town".

She said: "He was different and that's why he stood out.

"But nobody talked badly about him; he was like family to everyone."

Charlie, who had diabetes and was partially blind, was Burton born and bred and grew up in Cross Street.

However, his happy family life was broken when his mother died a few years ago.

Mrs Kashif said: "As a little boy, Charlie was a mummy's boy and when she passed away he was devastated.

"It took him quite a few years to get back to himself and it was a really hard time for him.

"Luckily Charlie has a huge family and we are very close."

Mrs Kashif said she and Charlie were particularly close.

She said: "He wasn’t just my uncle; he was my best friend.

"He was kind and funny and whenever I saw him all the sorrow would go away.

"He was a backbone to me and a great support."

Charlie was living in Stretton when he became ill with a bleed on the brain.

He spent four days at Burton's Queen's Hospital before he died on June 21 from a cardiac arrest.

Mrs Kashif said: "People didn't even know he was poorly so it was a shock to a lot of people.

"We didn’t know how poorly he was but we couldn’t visit him in hospital because of the virus.

"I just can’t believe I couldn't say goodbye.

"He is so missed already."

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/burton/heartbreak-burton-legend-cheerful-charlie-4274725