Fitting tribute to Chesterfield’s Tony Benn

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I would like to thank all those responsible for organising the Day of Encouragement, held at Chesterfield Labour Club on Friday, July 4.

The event was organised to both remember and celebrate the life of Tony Benn, who represented Chesterfield as MP from 1984 to 2001 and who sadly died in March this year. He wanted engraaved on his tombstone the phrase; “He encouraged us,” which gave name to the event and what the day itself was meant to achieve.

Whilst I thought I would call in just to sign the book of remembrance, more than anything else, I was amazed how many people were there and just how much this man had touched and influenced the lives of those around him, especially people here in Chesterfield.

The building and grounds were buzzing with people, even on a dull, wet afternoon. Everyone tucked into ‘afternoon tea’ with tea,cakes, strawberries and cream etc, as individuals from many walks of life shared their own personal memories and anecdotes about Tony Benn.

Inside was an exhibition of memorabilia, from the time he had spent in Chesterfield. This included photographs of past election campaigns, as well as more personal pictures from club members who had come into contact with him over the time he had been our MP.

It was a very moving and poignant experience when Hilary Benn, ( son of Tony Benn and himself, MP for Leeds central ) came to plant a tree in the grounds of the Labour Club, in memory of his father. It was very touching when he reminded everyone “how much his dad loved Chesterfield”. We were then treated to a poem, entitled Spoons, written and performed by Sarah Thomasin, who said she had been truly ‘encouraged’ by the life of Tony Benn.

In the evening there was barbecue food and musical entertainment.

There was great company, great food and great entertainment, together with an opportunity for individuals to reflect on the life of such an outstanding man.

On a sad note however, I was disappointed to learn that Chesterfield Borough Council had no involvement in this Day of Encouragement.

Many thanks to the members of Chesterfield Labour Club for taking the initiative to organise this event, a tribute that anyone would find hard to equal.

Richard Wright

Chesterfield

The event was organised to both remember and celebrate the life of Tony Benn, who represented Chesterfield as MP from 1984 to 2001 and who sadly died in March this year. He wanted engraaved on his tombstone the phrase; “He encouraged us,” which gave name to the event and what the day itself was meant to achieve.

Whilst I thought I would call in just to sign the book of remembrance, more than anything else, I was amazed how many people were there and just how much this man had touched and influenced the lives of those around him, especially people here in Chesterfield.

The building and grounds were buzzing with people, even on a dull, wet afternoon. Everyone tucked into ‘afternoon tea’ with tea,cakes, strawberries and cream etc, as individuals from many walks of life shared their own personal memories and anecdotes about Tony Benn.

Inside was an exhibition of memorabilia, from the time he had spent in Chesterfield. This included photographs of past election campaigns, as well as more personal pictures from club members who had come into contact with him over the time he had been our MP.

It was a very moving and poignant experience when Hilary Benn, ( son of Tony Benn and himself, MP for Leeds central ) came to plant a tree in the grounds of the Labour Club, in memory of his father. It was very touching when he reminded everyone “how much his dad loved Chesterfield”. We were then treated to a poem, entitled Spoons, written and performed by Sarah Thomasin, who said she had been truly ‘encouraged’ by the life of Tony Benn.

In the evening there was barbecue food and musical entertainment.

There was great company, great food and great entertainment, together with an opportunity for individuals to reflect on the life of such an outstanding man.

On a sad note however, I was disappointed to learn that Chesterfield Borough Council had no involvement in this Day of Encouragement.

Many thanks to the members of Chesterfield Labour Club for taking the initiative to organise this event, a tribute that anyone would find hard to equal.

Richard Wright

Chesterfield