I write this as I sit at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium, Sheffield.
George Thompson has passed, and hundreds of people turned out to say thank you, and goodnight.
I didn’t know George, but if he was looking down upon proceedings, he will surely have been humbled at his send-off.
It’s a strange thing is emotion. Quite out of nowhere I welled up with tears as his coffin passed, draped in military colours. Inwardly, I said thank you, George. As the loudspeakers piped out anecdotes from his life, one line in particular struck me: ‘George Thompson, an ordinary man.’
The people I spoke to disagreed. One man said George was a genuine hero. He said that Englanders of today don’t know they’re born; they’ve no concept of what it must be like to have to fight for the liberty of your countrymen. John Beard then had to stop himself short, as emotion threatened to spill out.
When The Star used its front page to appeal to people to turn up to George’s funeral, I hoped a handful would oblige. In fact, half of Sheffield seemed to be there. I will forever remember this day as one where my newspaper and its readers made a difference. Thank you, George.