Today’s funeral service for Lord Tarsem King of West Bromwich was a humbling event.
Literally hundreds of mourners gathered at the town’s crematorium to pay their last respects.
People from all walks of life and communities – Asian, black and white – came together to remember and celebrate a great man.
It was a fitting reflection of the respect everyone has for a gentle, unselfish human being.
I was personally honoured to speak at the service – and highlight one of the reasons why I felt so humble.
Lord King, of course, was leader of Sandwell Council for four years at the turn of the century.
As I told the service, he filled that role with great skill, with compassion and with the best interests of everyone in Sandwell always uppermost in his mind.
As current leader, I can only hope to do the job half as well.
I’m hoping that the council will be able in the next few weeks to stage a civic memorial service for Lord King.
We won’t go over the top. Nothing would be less appropriate for a man like Tarsem.
But I would like to think we can organise something simple but fitting for such a courteous and thoughtful servant of the people.
PS: I should say a big, ‘Thank you’, to council staff – at the crematorium and from highways and parking – who helped organise the arrangements for today’s service. A great job.