Tributes have been pouring in for the Reverend Doctor Andrew Wakefield, who sadly passed away last week.

Rev Wakefield was a well-known pillar of the Merton community, serving as the vicar of St Andrew’s Church in Wimbledon and the chairman of the Merton Chamber of Commerce.

His other roles included chairman of the Safer Neighbourhood Board and actives roles on the Merton Faith and Belief Forum and police’s independent advisory group.

He also led the Remembrance Day services outside Morden Civic Centre each year, where a book of condolence has now been opened for members of the public to sign.

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Rev Wakefield passed away on Wednesday, October 26. It is believed he suffered a heart attack.

Chief executive of the Merton Chamber of Commerce, Diana Sterck, said: "All the work he did in the community, and in bringing people together, was incredibly important. He will be very missed. 

"He had a real commitment to making Merton a great place to do business in and work in. And he did so much interfaith work, he was known within all the faith communities. 

"He worked to make Merton cohesive and inclusive for all the different communities that live within the borough. He was a larger than life character who was very passionate about the causes that he got involved with. 

"He will leave a big hole."

Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis, said: “I want to express my shock and sadness at the news of Andrew Wakefield’s death.

“Andrew was a pillar of the community and very much part of the Merton family. He loved being involved in everything to do with the borough.

“He had recently been made an honourary doctor of divinity for his 30 years of service to Merton, although his first loves were Crystal Palace FC, cricket and his little dog Darcy.

“He will be hugely missed in the community.”

Leader of Merton Conservative Group, Councillor Oonagh Moulton, said: “I am shocked and very sad to learn the terrible news of Andrew’s death.

“On behalf of Merton’s Conservative councillors, I extend our deepest sympathy  and condolences at this difficult time to all his family and friends, and to his colleagues at the Merton Chamber of Commerce and all the other local organisations with which he was involved.

“Many of us have known Andrew for years and I have always been impressed with his boundless energy and enthusiasm for everything he did for our community, including as a champion of local businesses.

“He was devoted to improving the lives of Merton residents by bringing together people from different faiths and backgrounds and working for the good of the whole borough.

“The gap he leaves will be extremely hard to fill.”

Siggy Osman, who used to work alongside Rev Wakefield, described him as having "the kindest heart and a great sense of humour.

"Rest in peace Andrew, and rise in glory."

Many have also been taking to social media to pay tribute to the Rev Wakefield. 

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