Well-wishers say fond farewell

IT was the ultimate venue for a traditional Labour send-off.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 13th September 2007, 11:05 pm
Updated Friday, 14th September 2007, 8:53 am

Pie, peas and a pint at the Sheffield Trades and Labour Club, as friends and colleagues gave a big “thank you comrade” to one of the city’s most celebrated MPs.

The room was packed as Richard Caborn, Sheffield Central MP for 24 years and sports minister for the past six, announced he will be standing down at the next general election.

Amongst them was his mum Mary - who celebrates her 91st birthday today - wife of 41 years Margaret, and brother David, along with fellow MPs and trade unionists, local councillors, sports personalities, and friends.

John Prescottpaid tribute to Mr Caborn praising him as a friend, colleague, and “very special man”.

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    He said: “Everything that Dick gets involved with, he makes a difference.

    “He is a tremendous man for great campaigning, and went on to be the best sports minister we have seen in this country - not only for his sporting knowledge, but he used his skill, his negotiability and his personality to make sport mean something. He made a really excellent job.”

    He brought with him a message from the Prime Minister Gordon Brown who thanked him for his “outstanding contribution” to the government.

    The message continued: “You have been an active ambassador for sport in this country - doing so much to encourage the take up of sport at grassroots level and playing a key role in our successful bid to host the Olympics. You can be justifiably proud of your achievements and we owe you a great debt of gratitude.”

    Other messages came from Jan Wilson, leader of Sheffield Council, who described Mr Caborn as a “friend and comrade” for the whole Labour group.She said: “You might not always agree with Richard but you always trust Richard, you can always rely on RIchard. There is no hidden agenda - it is an open agenda and it is about two things. One of them is Sheffield, and the other is Labour.”

    Paul Blomfield, from Sheffield District Labour Party, calling him a “great team player” who “always contributed more than we asked”.

    And he said: “You have brought us huge political skills and unbelievable energy, and on behalf of us all I would just like to say: thanks comrade.”