Two Rotherhithe heroes were able to make sure a 91-year-old local legend’s daughter was there for his final moments.
Bertie Hogg, who had spent his whole life living in Rotherhithe, was often seen travelling around the area on his mobility scooter or sharing a bottle of prosecco in the Blacksmith’s Arms.
Last Friday (December 3), when Bertie became ill on his way to the doctor’s, it was thanks to the kindness and quick thinking of two passers-by, Hassan and Sara, that his last request was heard and honoured: to be with his daughter Kim, 62.
“It was amazing what they did,” said Kim. “I just know that everything happens for a reason.”
Bertie grew up on Rotherhithe Street, before moving to Acorn Walk as a young man, where he stayed for the rest of his life.
After he died, Kim received many messages from people she didn’t even know, sharing how they would always get a wave from Bertie as they passed him or how they had sat and chatted with him about local history in the pub.
Kim added: “Even the priest said he’d often walk down the street, see my dad and get a wave and an ‘oy-oy!’
“Since mum passed eight years ago, me and my dad had breakfast with each other every single day. I knew that he had some fear around dying.
“He said to me last week that when you’re at his age, you’re just waiting to die. I said we’re all waiting to die from the minute we’re born, but it’s just the journey in this world, and we travel it and then we go home.
“I was able to share Jesus with him, something that normally my dad wouldn’t listen to, but he did then.
“That’s why it was so important I was able to be there when he passed.”
When they stopped to help him, Hassan and Sara heard what would be Bertie’s last words: “Can you get my daughter?”
Luckily, another passer-by who knew Kim was able to run and get her.
“By the time I got there the ambulance was there,” said Kim. “When we got to the hospital, the doctor came out and told me he wasn’t going to make it.
“I said to him, I’m not afraid of my dad dying because I know there’s a lot of people who are going to receive him the other end. But this side, I know he’d be fearful, and I need to be with him.
“I had a couple of minutes with him at the end of his life, so I could tell him to look for the light, and that my mum and my brother would be waiting on the other side.
“My dad took a couple of deep breaths, and he went.
“That is how crucial that time was. Without Hassan and Sara, I would never have been able be with him. I would never have known what is last words were.”
By reaching out on Facebook, Kim was able to get in contact with the two heroes who helped her father in his last moments.