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Jeremy Corbyn joins mourners at former miner's funeral

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has joined hundreds of mourners at the funeral of a stalwart of left-wing politics.

Unite boss Len McCluskey paid tribute to Dave Hopper, the secretary of the Durham Miners' Association ahead of the service at its headquarters.

Although coal mining in the county has ended, the association has continued to campaign for former miners and organises the popular gala in the city, one of Europe's biggest trade union events.

Banners that are paraded through Durham at the gala were carried to the humanist service and a brass band played the miners' hymn Gresford as the hearse arrived.

Mr Hopper died only a week after he shared a platform at the Durham Miners' Gala with Mr Corbyn. The former miner strongly backed Mr Corbyn to retain control of the party.

Mr Hopper died aged 73 at his home in East Boldon, South Tyneside.

Before the service, Mr McCluskey said Mr Hopper was wise, humble and a "gentle man" beneath his macho exterior.

He said: "I will miss the chats that we used to have on regular occasions.

"He was a lovely man and we will miss him."

The service was relayed to people in a large marquee outside the packed Miners' Hall.

The service opened with Bob Marley's Three Little Birds and mourners gave a loud round of applause before speeches started.

Mr Corbyn spoke for more than 10 minutes about his friend.

He paid tribute to the Durham Miners' Association for carrying on after the last pit closed.

"It would have been very easy at that point for Davey Hopper and many other brilliant, talented people to walk away and do something else but they didn't," he said.

The Labour leader urged mourners to make next year's gala even bigger than this year's success.

He added: "I learned a lot from Davey Hopper - he gave me a lot of helpful advice, he recognised that, when you take on a struggle, you get a lot of pressure.

"When you get a lot of pressure, you can either retreat and run away, or you stand up.

"Davey Hopper never retreated, he never ran away."


From Belfast Telegraph