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Durham miners attend Tony Benn’s funeral

Members of the Durham Miners Association raise a banner ahead of the funeral of former Labour cabinet minister Tony Benn at St Margaret's Church, Westminster, central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 27, 2014. See PA story FUNERAL Benn. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Members of the Durham Miners Association raise a banner ahead of the funeral of former Labour cabinet minister Tony Benn at St Margaret's Church, Westminster, central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 27, 2014. See PA story FUNERAL Benn. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

PITMEN have paid their respects to former Labour MP Tony Benn, as they lined his funeral procession.

Members of Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) travelled to Westminster to display a banner which pictured the politician as he gave an address at Durham Miners’ Gala.

It was one of many trade union and anti-war banners shown as the cortege made its way to St Margaret’s Church, just yards from the House of Commons.

It was taken to London and shown at the request of Mr Benn’s family.

DMA general secretary Dave Hopper, who attended the service itself, said: “His association with the Durham miners stretches back five decades, to when he first addressed our Gala in 1962.

“On July 8, 2000, he made his final gala address having spoken a record 20 times. No other speaker has been invited so many times and with such regularity. Tony was a unique politician who earned the respect and love of working people.

“His secret was a simple combination of honesty, sincerity and the ability to look back critically on his own life’s work with rare objectivity. Having devoted his life to the socialist and trade union movement, he never retreated to enjoy what would have been a richly deserved quiet life.

“He will be remembered above all as a fine human being.”

Mr Benn died on Friday, March 14, aged 88.

 

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