I WRITE this comment piece 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 today, he will surely have been humbled at the send-off he received.
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 Sheffield 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.
The Last Post is ringing out. I can’t help but be thankful for my friends, wife, baby boy and family as it does so.
Thank you, George. From the city of Sheffield. Thank you, George, from me.