A PROUD grandfather of two who had a “real zest for life” has been found dead in woodland yards from his Erith home.
Much-loved Kamaljit Aujla, known as Kam to his friends and family, was last seen going to pick up newspapers from the local shop on Wednesday. (Jan 9)
Met Police launched a public appeal after his family reported him missing and officers found the father of three’s body while searching Franks Park on Friday evening. (Jan 11)
He was 54 and had been battling a crippling degenerative condition which restricted him to a maximum of two hours sleep per night.
His grieving daughter Mandip Aujla, 32, told News Shopper: “He had a real zest for life but his chronic back pain slowly drained it out of him.
“He took his own life because he couldn’t handle the pain anymore.
“It’s left the family heartbroken. What’s getting us through is remembering and talking about all the stories and the great times we had together.”
One of the entrances to Franks Park where Kam used to play football as a youngster is just a stone’s throw away from his family home in Valley Road.
His eldest child Manny Aujla, 31, paid tribute to his dad who “brightened up any room he walking into”.
“He was quite the party animal,” he said.
“He worked hard, partied hard – he was the showman of the family. You couldn’t get him off the dance floor.
“He was always the life and soul of the party.”
The youngest of four siblings moved to Erith from India when he was eight years old and attended Picardy School, now called Trinity School, before training to become a plasterer.
He worked on building sites since the age of 14 but was forced to quit his job seven years ago as the back problem worsened.
Manny added: “He never moaned. He always tried to put a brave face on – he was too much of a proud man to use a walking aid, even though the pain was extreme and constant.
“Sometimes I would try to help take him to the bedroom but he would not have it – he took it as an insult.
“There about 100 people in our family but he is definitely the proudest by far.”
The last time Kam saw his family he left the house to go to the local shop.
Manny said: “He always got two newspapers, one for him and one for Iris, who lived in Riverdale Road and he called his English mum. We all called her mum.
“He would do anything for anyone - no matter whether they are two years old or 72 years old.”
Franks Park, also known as Franks Wood, is 17 hectares of mature woodland and parkland originally part of the grounds of Belvedere House which was demolished in the mid-20th century.
Mr Aujla’s body was found by police officers at 8.50pm on Friday. (Jan 11)
Ambulance crews were called to the scene but he was pronounced dead at 9.30pm.
Police are not treating Mr Aujla’s death as suspicious at this time.
A post-mortem examination has taken place and an inquest into his death was opened and adjourned today. (Jan 15)