Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Bill Wakefield

Picture is from Bill Wakefield's funeral procession entering Manor Park Cemetery on Friday.  Bill was a Labour Movement Champion.  Trade Union leader, Councillor, Residents rep and Pensioners activist.

This was a traditional East End funeral for someone who had lived and worked nearly all his life in Bow.

Bill (age 81) was first seen off from his home in Rosebank Gardens, Bow, E3.  There was a very good turn out of family, friends, neighbours and former work colleagues. 

The horse drawn hearse then took Bill to the cemetery followed by loved ones and friends.  Bill's coffin was carried into the crematorium for the Service by four of his great nephews who also gave a touching personal tribute to him.  During the service we were told that Bill was from a family of 13 (only 9 lived to adulthood) and that their parents decided not to evacuate them during the Second World War so they all lived though the Blitz and the V1/V2 Rocket attacks.

Bill spent a year away on National Service then returned to work at the Post Office (GPO) before becoming a gardener in Victoria Park.  He became the Tower Hamlets Council NUPE Branch Secretary.  NUPE later merged with other public sector unions to form UNISON. After his retirement he became a Labour Councillor, Residents and Pensioner rep.

After the funeral there was a Wake with a superb spread at the Colburn Arms and I had the chance to speak to his sisters and his nephews.   Check out also these reports in East End Life and East London Advertiser

Bill was a great fan of Shirley Bassey and at the service they played one of his favourite records - it had to be her version of "My Way".


Damien McKee said...

What is your view on Cilla Black?

John Gray said...

seriously off message Damien