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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September, 2003, 19:58 GMT 20:58 UK
Last Jarrow marcher dies
The Jarrow March
The Jarrow March was a protest against poverty in the town
Tributes have been paid following the death of the last surviving Jarrow marcher.

Cornelius Whalen died peacefully in hospital in Gateshead on Sunday, aged 93.

Known as Con to his friends and family, he was one of 200 jobless men who marched from the South Tyneside town to London in October 1936 to demand government aid.

The present Labour MP for Jarrow, Stephen Hepburn, praised the marchers as an example to the youth of today.

He said: "The Jarrow marchers will never be forgotten in the north-east of England.

"With Con gone, it is the end of an era, but not the end of a legend."

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: "The Jarrow marchers have always been an inspiration for this area and the death of Con is a sad loss."

A requiem Mass for Mr Whalen is to be held at St Mary's RC Church in Jarrow on 19 September.

Hospital bed

Mr Whalen's son-in-law Tom Graham added: "Con had suffered a massive stroke after a series of small heart attacks and died peacefully on Sunday.

"Although he never admitted it, I think he was quite proud of his part in the Jarrow March and I taped his memories of the event for my daughter, who is a teacher in Manchester, because the Jarrow March is part of the National Curriculum."

The Jarrow crusaders as they were know, marched on the government of then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.

A 12,000 signature petition was handed in by the then MP for Jarrow, Ellen Wilkinson.

Last year, Jarrow Brewery named a beer after him, called Old Cornelius, which is still on sale at pubs throughout Tyneside.

In October 2001, Mr Whalen left his hospital bed to watch the unveiling of a sculpture in Jarrow commemorating the march.

The original banner and petition box used by the marchers are on display in the town.

Mr Whalen leaves a daughter, Teresa, and three grand-daughters.



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