HEARTFELT tributes were paid to Lord Geoffrey Lofthouse of Pontefract yesterday at a service to celebrate his life.
Lord Lofthouse – Pontefract and Castleford MP from 1978 to 1997 – died last Thursday aged 86.
He was a former Ackton Hall Colliery miner who fought hard to get compensation for ex-pitmen suffering with industrial illnesses.
Tributes were paid by his family at a service in a packed All Saints’ Church in Pontefract yesterday afternoon.
His family wrote on the order of service: “We are proud beyond words of all that you have achieved and the great good you have done in your life, we love you for who you are to us. Thank you for your boundless love and patience and all that you have taught us.”
Yvette Cooper, Lord Lofthouse’s successor as Pontefract and Castleford MP, spoke to the congregation of her memories of him. Before the service, Ms Cooper said: “I will always remember the long chats we used to have, Geoff’s no-nonsense approach and also his warm chuckle.
“My thoughts and sympathies are with all Geoff’s family and friends now. I think the whole community will want to pay tribute to Geoff and the immense contribution to our area he made.”
Baroness Taylor Bolton spoke of her memories of Lord Lofthouse at the service, which was also attended by former House of Commons speaker, Baroness Betty Boothroyd.
Other politicians at the service included Morley and Outwood MP Ed Balls and Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland. Lord Lofthouse was passionate about rugby league and played professionally for Featherstone Rovers. Rovers’ head coach Daryl Powell attended yesterday’s service.
Lord Lofthouse was president of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group.
The group’s chairman, Greg Mulholland, said after the service: “Geoff was a passionate and honourable man.”