Harry Harpham Labour MP

Harry Harpham

Story by Carrie Hedderwick

Harry Harpham was remembered as one of the “ultimate workingclass heroes” on 16th February at a service of thanksgiving at Sheffield Cathedral after his untimely death from cancer.

Family, friends, Brightside and Hillsborough constituents, Labour Party colleagues, trade unionists and others mourned the loss of the miners’ MP.

Clipstone Colliery banner was displayed in the nave by a group of ex miners, there to show their admiration for one of the few workers in Nottinghamshire who rallied behind the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) during the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

Labour MP Richard Burgon said:

“He was worth a thousand of the ‘big names’.”

Harry was given what he called a “second chance” in life after the miners’ strike, when he moved from Mansfield to Sheffield.

His brother Rick said:

“Harry was an inspiration to us all. He was the first person in the family to go on to university.”

After serving as a Labour councillor for a decade and eventually deputy Council leader, he was chosen to replace retiring former home secretary David Blunkett as MP last May.

Shockingly, Harry was diagnosed with an unspecified form of cancer immediately after attending his first Labour conference as an MP.

Even as he was undergoing chemotherapy in December, Harry travelled to London to vote against the bombing of Syria and made a fitting final contribution in the Commons by taking PM David Cameron to task for his “handwringing and crocodile tears” in response to the steel crisis.

Many tributes from fellow MPs – Dennis Skinner, Jeremy Corbyn and many others – recognised Harry as an excellent socialist MP who fought tirelessly for working people.

Music at the service portrayed Harry’s life – ‘You don’t get me I’m part of the Union’, and ‘Working Class Hero’ among others.

After a tribute from David Blunkett, who said that Harry’s catchphrase greeting was “Ey up, comrade”, mourners stood to sing ‘The Red Flag’ – admiration and solidarity indeed!

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The content on this page was added to the website by Saleema Imam on 2016-04-01 12:01:04.
The content of the page was last modified by Gaby Spinks on 2016-09-28 13:22:41.

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