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Sharon Grant pays tribute to veteran Labour politician Tony Benn
One Haringey’s most prominent community activist’s has paid tribute to veteran Labour politician Tony Benn, who died last week.
Sharon Grant, who runs Tottenham’s Citizens Advice Bureau, said the former cabinet minister who died at his family home aged 88 on Friday, March 14, was “one of a kind”.
Mr Benn visited the borough on several occasions, including a visit to Hornsey School for Girls for a huge rally during the miners’ strike in 1983 and again in 1987 when Mrs Grant’s husband Bernie was campaigning to become the MP for Tottenham.
Mrs Grant said: “It’s the end of an era when somebody of his stature passes. He said himself that his real contribution was to educate people.
“He was particularly encouraging to black and minority ethnic voices especially in the 80s and 90s when it really hard for these communities to have any voice.”
In 1994 Mr Benn came to a large surprise party at the African Caribbean Centre in Turnpike Lane for Mr Grant’s 50th birthday and he spoke at Bernie’s funeral in 2000 at Alexandra Palace.
Mrs Grant said the former Bristol South East MP did a great deal to support those fighting against racism, and in particular encouraged the movement for Black and Asian political representation in Britain.
She added: “Tony was incredibly kind and considerate and an absolute gentleman. He did not demand a particular amount of attention when he came into a room. He did not stand on ceremony.
“To me he was a teacher. He could teach people to look at things differently, he could teach about the world of politics and employment and he could teach people about how power worked.
“Most importantly of all he was willing to stand up and be counted.”