The first speaker was an old friend of his, former MP and deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott. John praised Rodney for understanding that we need both the political (the Labour Party) and industrial (trade unions) wings of the Labour Movement to protect our people.
Rodney "always left everyone with a smile". Not only a "union man" but a fighter "for social justice in Britain and across the world". He was a man "For the many not the few".
While I had met Rodney on a few occasions over the years and he had been a strong supporter of my UNISON branch, I regret that when I bumped into him a few years ago in a cafe before a regional AGM he invited me to meet up for coffee and a proper chat and I never took him up on it. My loss.