It must be so much easier to plan a funeral if you do
God. Getting the tone of a ‘celebration of the life of’ is not easy.
The Hodge family got it just right as hundreds
gathered to bid farewell to Henry Hodge. Five tributes – all making different
points about his life – child, lawyer, judge, campaigner, friend. Good music
and poetry performed and read by family, a bit of singalong of his favourite
songs, among them ‘You are my sunshine’, and a really moving photo tribute set
to Bob Marley telling us not to worry because ‘every little thing’s gonna be
Lots of lawyers and judges.
Tony and Cherie were there, the former nursing a black
eye, the latter denying any involvement. ‘Don’t ask,’ he said as everyone filed
out. ‘I did it in the gym.’ David Blunkett, David and Ed Miliband, Tessa
Jowell, lots of MPs.
Harriet Harman, who worked with Henry at the National
Council for Civil Liberties, spoke well and warmly and revealed something about
Henry I didn’t know, that he once stood for council election under the
wonderfully awful slogan ‘don’t dodge, vote Hodge.’
His law firm partner Patrick Allen told how Henry
framed his first five pound payment after they set up their business, only to
have it nicked by one of his first clients.
But there were stories too of clients defended, cases
won, causes fought for, laws changed as a result of the test cases he pursued.
And there was a plug on the programme for the efforts
we are making to raise 50k in his honour so that ‘in memory of Henry Hodge’ can
be one of the 50 50k donations celebrating Leukaemia Research’s Big 5-0.
There was a nice summer’s feel to the do afterwards,
but no matter how hard she tried to keep her spirits up, Margaret had the pain
of loss written all over her.
It is a horrible disease, which has taken a good man.