In the latest of his articles on famous people with links to SE London and north Kent, Ken Tracey profiles a mischief-maker who was a regular on our TV screens for decades.

When Jeremy Beadle, the TV prankster, was 15 he spent three days fasting in Orpington High Street, but this wasn’t a stunt. He was fundraising for Oxfam.

His charitable nature stemmed from his mother, Marji, and throughout his life he raised around £100 million for charities.

Born on April 12, 1948 in Hackney, Jeremy was a ‘blue’ baby and suffered a disorder that stunted one arm. He lived with his mother and other family members in Blythe Hill, St Paul's Cray. He never met his father.

Marji bought him The Guinness Book of Records, which started an interest in snippets of odd information. He later provided questions to Bob Monkhouse for the TV programme Celebrity Squares.

At Midfield Road Junior School, he was disruptive and frequently caned.

On failing the 11-plus, he moved to Orpington Secondary Modern School in Charterhouse Road. This became Charterhouse Secondary School and was later demolished for housing.

At 15 his behaviour resulted in his expulsion from Orpington County Secondary Boys' School.

Before his showbusiness career, he was sacked by most of his employers. He worked for Morphy Richards in Orpington, the electrical appliance manufacturer. The factory was later demolished, without the help of Jeremy, to make way for the Nugent Shopping Centre.

He found the work at Tip Top Bakery boring and for fun would form bread rolls into phallic symbols and send them down the line and insert messages into the bread, such as ‘Help I’m being held prisoner in a bakery’.

Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup saw terrified patients forced into wheelchair races when Jeremy worked there as a porter.

He received the MBE for his charity work.

On January 30, 2008, aged 59, he died of pneumonia, leaving his wife Susan, two daughters, a stepson and daughter.

His headstone bears the inscription 'Writer, Presenter, Curator of Oddities’.