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Lancashire leftwingers pay tribute to a ‘warrior’ of the working class

More than 100 anti-fascists, anarchists and socialists turn out for the funeral of Richard Bircumshaw (1951 to 2018)

LEFTWINGERS in Lancashire paid tribute today to a “warrior” of the working-class movement.

More than 100 anti-fascists, anarchists and socialists turned out for the funeral of Richard Bircumshaw in the West Pennine Remembrance Park, Bolton.

Mr Bircumshaw, who died in December at the age of 68, was a veteran figure in the Lancashire left.

After being born to a military family in Berlin in 1951, Mr Bircumshaw moved around the country before becoming politically active in the north of England.

A welder by trade, he was an active member of the militant anti-racist group Anti Fascist Action (AFA), and played a leading role in fighting the National Front, the British National Party and the English Defence League over three decades.

He was also prominent in the anti-poll tax movement in Bolton.

Mr Bircumshaw had recently thrown himself into the campaign against fracking in Lancashire, and used his trade skills to weld together steel bars that anti-fracking protesters would glue themselves to in well-publicised protests against fracking companies.

At a graveside oration, friends of Mr Bircumshaw discussed his commitment to his principles of “mutual aid, solidarity, anarchy and social equality.”

A former colleague of Mr Bircumshaw’s read verses from French philosopher Voltaire, one of Mr Bircumshaw’s favourite authors, as well as US poet Emily Dickinson’s poem Because I Could Not Stop For Death.

Flags inscribed with the AFA symbol headed the funeral procession, while bagpipes played around the mourners.

A wreath was also laid by comrades from the anti-fascist struggle, and messages were read out, one of which described Mr Bircumshaw as “a lovely man — and a total warrior.”

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