Westminster Bridge victim Leslie Rhodes remembered as ‘such a gentleman’
The 75-year-old had been attending a hospital appointment when he was caught up in the atrocity.
Mourners have gathered to remember one of the Westminster attack victims, including a doctor who tried to save his life when he was struck on the bridge.
Leslie Rhodes, said to have once cleaned the windows of former prime minister Winston Churchill, was remembered as “a gentleman”.
The 75-year-old from Clapham, south London, died at King’s College Hospital on the night after the attack when life support was withdrawn.
He had been attending a hospital appointment when he was caught up in the atrocity on Westminster Bridge.
During the 82-second rampage on March 22, Kent-born Khalid Masood drove a rental car into unsuspecting pedestrians before fatally stabbing Pc Keith Palmer, 48, in the Palace of Westminster’s forecourt.
Nigel Desborough, of Forest Hill Community Church, officiated at the service and spoke on behalf of the family.
He told the congregation: “He was a very private man, he was very shy but extremely kind. He was popular, such a gentleman. He would do anything for anyone.”
Neighbours who sat with Mr Rhodes at his hospital bedside when he died had played Queen songs for him, and the band’s guitarist Brian May later sent autographed memorabilia to the pensioner’s family, mourners heard.
Music at the service at Morden cemetery included These Are The Days Of Our Lives by Queen, and Elvis Presley’s version of My Way.
Gareth Lloyd, an ear, nose and throat surgeon at Guy’s Hospital, was invited to the service by the family, after they heard how he tended to Mr Rhodes as he lay injured on the ground.
The doctor, who was walking towards St Thomas’ Hospital at the time, said: “Today was an opportunity to do something we don’t do very often in medicine which is see the wider picture of some of the patients we treat.”
He said he was privileged to attend the service, adding Mr Rhodes’s family and neighbours “clearly loved him a lot and they clearly miss him now that he’s gone”.
Floral tributes in memory of Mr Rhodes, known to friends as Les, gave a nod to his days as a window-cleaner and his love of cricket.
His sister-in-law Carol Carney, 72, said she remained shocked and angry.
Speaking outside the pensioner’s flat, where friends and family gathered ahead of the service, she said of Masood: “It’s not right. It’s not right at all.
“I’m shocked really that, you know, he could’ve done so many people in that short time.”
She added: “I’m more angry than anything else. He (Mr Rhodes) was only going to the hospital to have his eyes seen to and that was it, the end of his life.”
Mrs Carney said she had fond memories of Mr Rhodes visiting and helping with her children when his brother Brian, her husband, died aged just 34.
She described him as being like “a surrogate dad” to her four children.
“He was a very gentle, caring man and the way he went isn’t fair,” she said.