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Hundreds line the streets for Bob Crow’s funeral procession

The funeral procession of Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union leader Bob Crow makes its way through large crowds. Photo: John Stillwell/PA The funeral procession of Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union leader Bob Crow makes its way through large crowds. Photo: John Stillwell/PA

Monday, March 24, 2014
2:41 PM

Hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects at the funeral of trade union leader Bob Crow today.

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Friends and union members gather outside the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium to pay tribute to RMT General Secretary Bob Crow,Friends and union members gather outside the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium to pay tribute to RMT General Secretary Bob Crow,

The ceremony was private at the request of his family but a horse-drawn carriage carried his coffin from his home in Woodford Green to the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium in an hour-long procession.

Trade unionists and supporters from around the world clapped as it passed, with some throwing roses and singing socialist songs.

Dozens of brightly-decorated banners marked out divisions of different unions from around the UK and beyond.

Railway workers and members of Mr Crow’s Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) made up swathes of the crowd.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow's  funeral procession arrive at the City of London Cemetery and CrematoriumRMT General Secretary Bob Crow's funeral procession arrive at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium

Elroy Duce, who works on the First Great Western trains from London to Cornwall and Wales, said Mr Crow was irreplaceable.

“He had the heart of the people and he believed in justice for the workers,” he said.

“Replacing him will be impossible – you won’t get anyone of his calibre.”

Alfonso Bahena, from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, said Mr Crow’s legacy went far beyond Britain.

He added: “He spoke at our congress in Mexico City in 2010 – he was one of the most important people.

“He made a lot of policy for the railway workers in Brazil and south America.”

Mr Bahena was representing the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

Many groups beyond transport turned up to pay their respects to Mr Crow and show solidarity.

The Durham Miners, National Pensioners Convention and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament were among those seen.

Mr Crow died aged 52 after a suspected heart attack on March 11.

He was born in Shadwell but moved to Hainault with his family as an infant and attended Kingswood Upper School, which later became The Forest Academy.

He became involved in union politics while based in Loughton working for London Transport.

As the leader of the RMT, he headed many strikes including the recent walk-out on the London Underground.

His stance frequently provoked controversy and drew sharp criticism from politicians and many inconvenienced commuters.

“People called him the most hated man in Britain,” said one woman waiting for the procession.

“But today it looks like he was the most loved.”

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