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Restoration complete of former MP’s grave

Thomas Burt's successors as Morpeth MP, Ian Lavery and Denis Murphy, pictured at his restored grave in Jesmond Old Cemetery.

Thomas Burt's successors as Morpeth MP, Ian Lavery and Denis Murphy, pictured at his restored grave in Jesmond Old Cemetery.

The grave of a pioneering Morpeth MP has been restored to its former glory.

The burial ground of pitman Parliamentarian Thomas Burt has been rededicated after being discovered in a state of disrepair and neglect.

With the help of the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery, the Northumberland National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has been able to restore the grave of the man who became its general secretary in 1863.

Born in 1837, Thomas Burt was appointed to the position in the Northumberland miners’ union.

Then in the 1874 general election he was elected as one of the first two working mining MPs. He remained Morpeth MP until ill-health forced him to stand down at the 1918 election.

Two years ago Denis Murphy, former Wansbeck MP who is now secretary of the Northumberland NUM, approached the friends group seeking help in restoring Thomas Burt’s grave.

And now the work has been completed at a cost of £1,700, current Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery paid tribute to his predecessor, both as NUM secretary and as an MP.

“This a proud day for our union to see the grave of someone who committed his life to the service of others, restored to its rightful state,” he said.

“Thomas Burt had a long and outstanding career as a Parliamentarian, a tremendous achievement for someone who had virtually no formal schooling and started work down a coal mine at the age of just ten.”

 

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