Last Jarrow marcher dies aged 96

The Jarrow marchers pass through Lavendon on their way to protest in London about unemployment in 1936

The Jarrow marchers pass through Lavendon on their way to protest in London about unemployment in 1936

First published in National News © by

The last survivor of the Jarrow March, a famous protest against unemployment and poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s, has died.

Con Shiels, who died on Boxing Day aged 96, was part of the crusade that saw around 200 unemployed men walk from Jarrow to London in 1936.

Carrying an 11,000-name petition, they did so to demand help from the government after the closure of their shipyard.

Mr Shiels, who was 20 at the time, joined his father and the other protesters for the final part of the marathon 300-mile journey.

Parish priest Father Peter Martin, who conducted the requiem mass for Mr Shiels on Wednesday, told the Shields Gazette: "In a way, this is closing a chapter of history.

"There can't be any other people who can say they took some part in the Jarrow March.

"Con was often on the box, talking about the march and what it meant."

Steve Turner, a policy director for Unite, wrote on Twitter: "Always remembered Con Shiels last of the Jarrow marchers (1936) RIP. Growing poverty and unemployment need new 'rage against poverty' 2013."

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