‘Popular’ Bury St Edmunds community figure and dedicated parent loses cancer battle
A ‘popular’ Bury St Edmunds community figure who spent four decades caring for foster children with his wife has been remembered by her as a ‘great man’.
Kerry Cornish, 68, lived on the Westley estate for more than 40 years and was known locally for his involvement in the West Bury Social Club.
Having been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in March, he succumbed to his short battle with the disease on Sunday.
Sheila Cornish, his wife of 40 years, remembered him as an ‘easy-going’ figure with a ‘great sense of humour’.
“I could not have wished for a better husband,” she said.
“He was a great man and I loved him dearly. I will miss him, and so will a lot of other people.
“He was very brave with his illness. He knew he wasn’t going to get better and just made sure everybody else was cared for, which was typical of him.”
Having moved to Suffolk from London with his grandparents aged three, Kerry was a Greene King employee when he married Sheila, now 65.
They moved to the Westley estate 43 years ago, where Kerry became heavily involved in the West Bury Social Club as its entertainment manager.
“He was very popular, and he was involved in absolutely everything - people used to call him Kerry ‘Mr West Bury’ Cornish,” said Sheila.
“Even after he retired he carried on his good work.”
For forty years Kerry and Sheila also fostered and adopted children from the area, with Sheila estimating they cared for 150 children aged from babies to teenagers.
“It was my decision initally, but he fell into it and enjoyed it as much as I did,” she said.
As well as caring for others’ offspring, Kerry and Sheila had three children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren of their own.
“He did the daftest things in the world sometimes, and you see that part of him in his grandchildren,” said Sheila.
“He was so easy-going, he just went along with the flow. He tried to make everyone happy and nothing was ever too much trouble.”
Sheila said she and Kerry travelled together to ‘places we never though we would go’, the most recent trip being to Iceland in February this year.
Kerry’s family have said the funeral will on June 3 at 3pm at the West Suffolk Crematorium, then adjourning to the West Bury Social Club.
Donations should be made to Riverwalk School in Bury and the Macmillan Nurses.