Billy Hall

Billy Hall, who has died at the age of 86, was a Labour stalwart and recipient of the party's 50-year long service award.

Billy Hall, who has died aged 86, was a Labour stalwart and recipient of the party's 50-year long service award.

Mr Hall was “red-hot through and through,” according to his son, Dan.

He had played an integral role in the party in his home town of Dereham, including being the original steward of Dereham Labour Party Social Club, vice-chairman of Mid Norfolk Constituency Labour Party (CLP) and chairman of the party's Dereham branch for many years.

Born at Toftwood, he worked for most of his life as a machine operator at the old Dereham factory of the fretwork and model-making goods suppliers, Hobbies. It was there he met his future wife Ivy, whom he married in 1942 and who shared his loyalty to the party.

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Apart from their son, they had daughters Diane and Deborah, but Mrs Hall died in 1980, soon after they became stewards of the social club.

In recent years Mr Hall had suffered a number of falls, in one case breaking his pelvis and breaking his hip. On January 15 this year he had another fall and was taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and a stroke. He died a few weeks later.

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Dan Hall said: “He and my mother were red-hot Labour, and if you supported any other party he would not speak to you. My mother was furious with me once because I wore a blue suit to a Labour Party dinner. He thought that as long as you were Labour you were all right. It was his life.”

Robin Goreham, Labour group leader on Breckland Council, called Billy a local Labour legend.

He said: “I had the not inconsiderable honour of succeeding him as chair of the Dereham branch Labour Party when he 'retired' in 2001. He became an honorary life member and president of Mid Norfolk CLP in 2003. He continued to attend both CLP and branch meetings until quite recently despite recurring illness.”

Mr Hall received his long service award from Tony Blair two years ago.

The funeral will take place at St Nicholas Church, in Church Street, Dereham on Friday, February 16,

at 2pm.

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