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Farewell to Henry Hodge

Posted on 29 June 2009 | 8:06pm

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
allright.’

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.

  • Katharine T.

    It always makes me feel bad for families when they lose a dad to a horrible disease. My brother and I were in our early 20’s and my dad was a young 56 after a 4 year battle of cancer. To this day I have no memory of the funeral except my brothers face; that was the only thing I saw.
    There are no words that will make it better. Best wishes to the family.

  • Em

    There is no good way to die for those who are left behind. When someone dies suddenly, you forever have lost the chance to tell them what you should and you never get to say goodbye.

    My thoughts are with the Hodge family.

  • Lore

    First of, I’d like to tell you I’m sorry for your lost. Henry Hodge must have been a wonderful man.
    Secondly I’d like to congratulate you over your cause and the spirit you put into it. I’m writing you from Ecuador, Quito and I feel totally familiarized with your work. Here I also work with basically children with leukemia, only I do it through art. It’s great to know there are more people fighting for a better world out there.
    best,

  • Jane A

    @Em. I concur. Beautifully put.