Prominent figure in the Sikh community loses battle with cancer

Tributes have poured in from around the world for Makhan Singh Johal, one of the most well-respected and prominent figures in the Sikh community in Gravesend. He sadly passed away at the age of 64 after a long battle with cancer.

Makhan arrived in Gravesend in 1975 and along with running a number of local successful businesses, he was best known for his contribution to the local arts and sports scene gaining worldwide recognition. During the course of his prolific singing career, spanning over 35 years, he performed with Jugnu Bhangra Group, Rooh Punjab Dee and Four by Four Bhangra at events around the world, entertaining thousands with his powerful voice and onstage personality.

Makhan was also well known for the positive contribution he made to the Guru Nanak Kabbadi Club where he played the Punjabi sport for many years both in the UK and abroad. In latter years he was an active member of management for the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend where he served the community selflessly for many years. Makhan also focused his energy on supporting the underprivileged in Punjab, North India where he was born. This included regular free eye camps and drop in sessions around cancer awareness as well as creating a free gym and boxing club which supported females across all ages.

Gurvinder Sandher CEO of the Kent Equality Cohesion Council, “I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Makhan Singh Johal, someone who I had the honour of knowing for many years and who was an avid supporter of our work. He was a much loved figure who was very well known within the Sikh community not just in the UK but around the world. This is underlined by the fact that since his passing tributes have poured in globally from artists within the Punjabi music industry to members of the local community whose hearts he touched. He will be dearly missed by the community but we will find solace in the fact that his legacy lives on in his family and within the cultural and sports scene in Gravesham to which he contributed so greatly to.”