The family of Mansfield born MP Harry Harpham have paid tribute to the ‘inspirational’ former Clipstone Miner following his death from cancer.
Harry Harpham died on February 4 after losing his battle with the disease, having only been diagnosed a few months ago.
The former miner at Clipstone Colliery was elected MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough – succeeding former Home Secretary David Blunkett – in May last year, after serving Sheffield in many roles over the years, including as deputy leader of Sheffield City Council.
Harry leaves behind his wife Gill and children Annie, Kieron, Dan, Emily and Victoria and was a doting granddad to his first grandchild Layla Grace.
He is survived by his parents Frieda Annie Trigg and father Richard Harpham, two brothers and four sisters.
The majority of his family still live in the Mansfield area.
His brother Rick Harpham said: “Harry was our eldest brother and an inspiration to us all. Throughout family difficulties he showed us all the decent things in life.
“He always stood up for the underdog and what he felt was right.
“Harry was fiercely proud of his union roots. He was an NUM man throughout the Miners’ Strike and stood firm for a full year at his Nottinghamshire pit, even though many others crossed the picket line, something Harry would never have done.”
He said his brother a former pupil of Preistsic Road Primary School and Eastbourne School, Sutton, was the first person in the family to go on to university after he left the mining industry and had inspired him to do the same in later life.
MP for Bolsover Dennis Skinner said: “He was a good colleague - I first met him when I was fundraising for David Blunkett in Brightside in 2010.
“I was full of admiration for him it and was a real shock when he died.”
Alan Spencer secretary of Nottinghamshire area of the National Union of Mineworkers said: “Harry was a coal face worker at Clipstone and was heavily involved in fund raising . He left Clipstone after the strike and took a degree in Politics in Sheffield he never forget his roots and worked tirelessly for the cause . He will be sadly missed - he has always been a loyal member of the NUM.”
A funeral service will be held at Sheffield Cathedral on February 16 at 12.15 pm, followed by a private cremation.
The family is organising a coach trip to the service for the MP’s friends and former colleagues from the Mansfield area.