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Generous man who gave away millions to poor

PUBLISHED: 12:46 04 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:55 07 September 2010

THOUSANDS joined to grieve the death of generous Golders Green father-of-nine Benzion Dunner this week after he was killed in a car crash

Katie Davies

THOUSANDS joined to grieve the death of generous Golders Green father-of-nine Benzion Dunner this week after he was killed in a car crash.

The philanthropist, 45, died when his £175,000 Bentley Arnage collided with another vehicle as he drove to a family party in Bournemouth on Saturday March 22.

The accident came just days after Mr Dunner gave away £2million to people who queued at his home until 4am, in accordance with the Jewish festival of Purim when money is given to the poor and needy.

His father, former Golders Green councillor Rabbi Aba Dun-ner, paid tribute to his son, who had spent his life caring for others.

"Even as his father I wasn't aware of how multifaceted his life and activities for others were," he said. "I didn't know the extent of what he was doing and I am just so proud of having such a wonderful son."

Mr Dunner lived on West Heath Avenue with his wife Esti and their children, who were aged between one and 20 years old.

He was the only injured person in the car, in which other family members were also travelling.

Many have shared stories of his kindness with the family since the accident took place and after his funeral at an Enfield cemetery.

Rabbi Dunner continued: "He lived life to the full and he was inclusive of everyone. He really touched many lives.

"I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the reaction. Thousands have been to his home. Everyone came with their own reason for grieving him and it wasn't just philanthropy - he gave help, advice and support.

"That was always part of his character, even as a boy he cared for others, he was always interested in everyone around him.

"He wanted to share what God gave him and he always had a smile on his face. I am very thankful for so many people sharing their grief. We do not feel we are on our own and we are so proud of him, but it doesn't give any comfort to me.

"There is no comfort for a father because he will always just be my little Bentzi. I am just devastated to have lost him at the prime of his life."

Leading figures from the Jewish Community also paid their respects to Mr Dunner.

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks said: "My wife Elaine and I are truly heartbroken. Benzion Dunner was an outstanding exemplar of Jewish values and Jewish responsibility.

"He was a person of exceptional chesed (kindness), much of whose work was done quietly behind the scenes and was all the more impressive for that.

"Our hearts go out to the members of his family, whose grief we share. His memory will endure as a source of blessing and inspiration."

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

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