'Man of the world' veteran Sheffield trade unionist dies

Tributes have been paid to a veteran trade unionist who has died at the age of 93.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 12:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 4:55 pm

Albert Bedford was successful in fighting for and defending workers rights across the region and was described as a ‘man of the world’ who was liked by all.

The ‘very strong family man’ leaves wife Florence and their two children, Steven and Susan.

Working life started for Albert in the city's file trade where he joined the industry's union.

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Albert Bedford, veteran trade unionist, who has died.

That union was later absorbed into the Transport and General Workers Union where he met people like Bill Owen and George Caborn, who spotted his talent and helped promote what would become a very successful career.

Derek Simpson, retired general secretary of Unite, worked alongside Albert in Sheffield and described him as ‘a good friend and colleague who could always be relied upon to give sound and thoughtful advice’.

Richard Caborn, long time friend and former Sheffield Central MP, also fondly remembers Albert's wise words.

He said: "Those who knew him all agreed he was a thoughtful and approachable person but in the hurly burly of trade union activity he was a very effective operator.

"Albert was not only a good human being, but someone whose advice always kept your feet on the ground and some of us will be eternally grateful for the advice he gave."

Roger Barton, a former member of the European Parliament who worked with Albert when he was the Sheffield Labour Party secretary, said: "While Albert was never one to seek the limelight many of the gains secured at that time on women's rights, better health and safety conditions and pensioners’ rights were not only supported by Albert but positively promoted."

As well as his Labour Party and trade union activities, Albert was also active in developing Wortley Hall in Barnsley, also known as ‘the workers' home’.

Mike Frizelle, a fellow full-time trade union officer who worked closely with Albert, said: “He was a man of this world on whom you could always depend. He was respected by management and workers alike.”

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