Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Rod McCord Statement in 'Tameside Reporter'

 Sunday 11th March 2018 20:03 News Stalybridge Tameside by Nigel Skinner 
COMMUNITY campaigner Rod McCord’s family have explained why they chose to fly the Communist Party flag above Stalybridge New Labour Club following his funeral last Thursday.

A picture of the flag fluttering at full mast above the club sparked a social media storm, prompting the family to issue a statement.

But this weekend Rod’s sons Danny and Patrick said they took full responsibility for the decision to fly the flag.

While Danny stressed that the kinds of messages made on social media in response to the move had been totally inappropriate.

“Associating the atrocities across the world with my father’s funeral is very inappropriate and comparing the Nazi Party flag and the swastika to the Communist Party flag is also inappropriate,” he said.

A memorial service was held for Rod at Stalybridge Civic Hall and attended by an estimated 350 people.

Rod had been a keen local health campaigner, working to establish Tameside Hospital Action Group (THAG) along with former Ashton MP David Heyes, back in 2006.

He was also involved with the local health watchdog LINk, (now called Tameside Health Watch).
As a member of THAG, he wrote the document “A Charter for Change” that was submitted to the hospital.

He was also a regular contributor to the Tameside Reporter letters pages over the years on behalf of THAG.

Following the memorial service a funeral was held at Dukinfield Crematorium with a reception held at the New Stalybridge Labour Club.

The McCord family statement reads:
“We would like to take the opportunity to thank everybody who attended on Thursday to pay their respects to our Dad, Rod McCord. Also to say thank you to those who very kindly made donations to Willow Wood Hospice – a total of £1,348.94 was raised.
“Our dad was a Communist and also a passionate local activist whose contribution made a difference to our community.
“We are very proud of him and wanted the memorial to be a fitting reflection of our father. As a family we took the decision to fly the Communist Party flag at full mast over the Stalybridge Labour Club.
“This was purely to mark our dad’s passing and in no way was it our intention to cause offence, upset or to associate the flag with the Labour Party.
“We also feel that given this has triggered a healthy debate, we recognise and acknowledge what this particular flag has come to represent, however, this is no different to the way many people across the world interpret the Union Jack, our national flag which has been hijacked by the far right.
“Had we taken the decision to fly the Union Jack, would this have been more appropriate? Certainly not for our father.
“For our Dad the Union Jack represents empire and as we all know the sun never set and the blood never dried. Atrocities have been committed in the name of all flags.”
Cllr Bill Fairfoull is a director at the New Stalybridge Labour Club which, as a private hire venue, he said would allow the flying of a flag in such circumstances if it was the family’s wish.
“It’s a judgement call for us,” he said, “although the flag should have come down earlier following the event.”

He paid tribute to Rod McCord for doing a great job in pushing for change at Tameside Hospital with former MP David Heyes.

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