Ten days ago I was stood alongside my friend Davey Hopper on the balcony of the County Hotel at the Durham Big Meeting. He was that day the same as he was throughout the decades we knew each other – warm, passionate and full of vigour for the fight ahead.
Yet just a week later, Davey Hopper passed away.
As the leader of the Durham Miners, Davey Hopper was more than just a comrade, he was an icon for a region and the communities that once made up the Durham coalfields.
Throughout his time as a leading light in the labour movement, Davey never forgot where he came from – in fact it was integral to the man that he was and the life that he lived. A lifelong socialist, he fought energetically until his final days for what he believed in – and for the people who relied upon him.
I will always remember Davey as I saw him last – with friends and allies in Durham only a few short days ago, on the platform making his case for all to hear.
He will be missed – and my thoughts and those of everyone at UNISON are with Davey, his family, friends and everyone at the Durham Miners’ Association.
We will not see another Davey Hopper – he was a one off, and I will miss him.