HUNDREDS of people are expected to attend the funeral of a grandfather of 14 who is described as a pillar of Southampton's Sikh community.

At least 500 people are expected to be at the funeral of Jagindar Singh Digwa who devoted his time to help the Sikh community in the city.

He played an important role at the Gurdwara Tegh Bahadur Sahib in St Marks Road, Newtown where he was a trustee.  His son Vejapal Singh Digwa is now general secretary.

He said: “My father was a naturally caring character and would socialise with all age groups. He was a well know man that had many friends and family around him; he had a self satisfaction of helping others and we loved him dearly.”

“Our father enjoyed life to the fullest. He was a champion in everyone's eyes, a very sociable and humorous man.”

The 59-year-old died earlier this month of natural causes in his sleep at his home in Derby Road.

He spent most of his career working for British Railways as a maintenance engineer for 25 years. When he was semi-retired he spent his time working for the Spiral Stone pharmacy in Brinton's Road, where he delivered medication to care homes across the city.

Born in Newcastle in 1954, he grew up in Southampton, and he married his wife Sukhchen Kaur, 58, in 1971 at a Sikh temple in Edinburgh.

He had four children, his daughter Jasbir, 38, and three sons Gurparsad, 37, Vijapal, 33 and Pritipal, 35.

He was also a devoted grandfather and he prioritised his time to be with all 14 of his grandchildren.

He was known by his friends as 'jiggy' and in his spare time he enjoyed playing darts and pool.

Chanan Roath, 44, who is a correspondent secretary at the Gurdwara Tegh Bahadur Sahib, described Mr Singh's Digwa significance in the Sikh community.

He said: “What mattered to him was people and seeing people happy; he was someone that always offered moral and emotional support. He was a pillar of the Sikh community.”

A  personal prayers will be held today  at the Gurdwara Tegh Bahadur Sahib temple in St Marks Road from 1pm, followed by the funeral at Southampton Crematorium with prayers and readings of the scripture.