Glowing tributes from friends of a "Kingston legend"

This Is Local London: Kingston through and through: Anthony Vassell Kingston through and through: Anthony Vassell

Friends have paid tribute to a man they called a true "Kingston legend".

Father-of-one and churchgoer Anthony Vassell died on June 3, aged 46, at West Brompton Hospital after suffering heart problems.

Friend Ray Carlton, who had known Anthony for more than 30 years, said: "When you say the name Anthony Vassell you’re also saying the words 'Kingston legend'.

"Our friendship began around 1983 and we spent virtually all our teenage years hanging out, clubbing, chasing Doris - Anthony’s term for girls - and getting into various scrapes and just having a laugh.

"Most weekends back then I tended to stay at Anthony’s mum’s house although I was not allowed and generally had to be sneaked in.

"Our staple diet for dinner back then was tea and toast. I'll never forget watching in horror as Anthony used to dip his toast into his tea. It didn't take me long before I started to follow suit.

"The breakfast menu consisted of Coco Pops, Frosties and hot milk. This was also unique to Anthony.

"I remember always leaving feeling well fed and being looked after. That was Anthony all over. Although he didn't have much he would have given you the shirt off his back."

School friend Nick Dare, who attended Beverley Boys’ with Anthony, said: "During the mid 80s a collective of us used to hang out in Kingston - mainly at the Eden Walk precinct, and spend hours together listening to the latest electro sounds, breakdancing and body popping.

"Ant and I were part of that scene and I will never forget all the great times we had together during that era and in more recent times."

Brian Mehtar recalled his first meeting with his friend as a 13-year-old who felt he had made it into the "in-crowd" when Anthony approved of his portable stereo system.

He said: "My moment had arrived, one of the Kingston crew asking me to play some tunes. Play button pushed down and what came out...Club Tropicana by Wham!

"Not my finest moment, but one I'll remember forever and one Anthony often reminded me of over our next 25 plus years of friendship."

He added: "Anthony's friends stretch far and wide. Throughout his life he would make new friends in the most obscure places and if you were lucky enough to have had Anthony cross your path, that encounter would be with you for life.

"He would always greet you with one of his quirky names he'd made up for you."

Childhood friend Angela Silverstein said: "We all hung about together at Burlington youth club and Kingston just having a laugh and being kids.

"He used to ring me from a phone box and I’d sneakily call it back from mum and dad’s phone and we'd chat for ages about everything.

"We remained friends for 30 years and the last time I saw him was at my 40th - he was still the same old Anthony laughing and joking. He was always happy and made me feel happy whenever I saw him."

Friend Mark Adaway said: "What a character. He invented his own language and catchphrases which had us in stitches. Yeessss mate.

"He helped me through some of the toughest times in my life and I’ll always be grateful to him for that."

Another friend Mark Jordan said: "Kingston has lost a legend. A legend with the happiest smile."

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