Report of Iris’s funeral
Iris’s funeral took place on 17 April at Mortlake Crematorium in West London. The service was filled to capacity, not only with Iris’s family and friends and Party comrades, but also with the most diverse of community leaders, as well as leaders and supporters of progressive political parties and broad organisations. The embassies of both Cuba and the DPRK were represented by Political Counsellor Jorge Luis Garcia and Minister Thae Yongho respectively in recognition of Iris’s work in promoting friendship with the revolutionary peoples of these countries. Comrade Avtar Jouhl represented the Indian Workers Association (Great Britain) and Harsev Bains represented the Association of Indian Communists (Marxist). Comrade Darshana represented the JVP of Sri Lanka, and Chris Coleman and Michael Chant represented the RCPB(ML), while Nicki Jameson came on behalf of the RCG. Kwame Akuffo and Hilary Panford attended from the University of West London, and Bernice McNaughton, Josephine de Souza and Daphne Stewart represented the Ealing Equality Council.
Mourners entered the chapel to the rousing sound of Paul Robeson singing the Soviet national anthem, Long Live our Soviet Motherland, a particularly fitting choice for Iris who had been a staunch supporter of the Great October Socialist Revolution, a defender of Soviet socialist construction and an outstanding Secretary of the Stalin Society for many years.
The meeting was addressed by several relatives not only of Iris’s but also of Godfrey’s. Her brother Anthony movingly recalled their childhood together.
The speeches made by Harpal Brar, chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), of which Iris was a founder member and sat on its Central Committee, and of Iris’s daughter, Katt, are reproduced on these two pages, along with the poem written and read by Ella Rule.
The funeral service ended just as Iris would have wished with everybody standing to sing the Internationale.
After the funeral a reception was held at Saklatvala Hall in Southall, where Iris’s very many friends and family gathered to reminisce about both Godfrey and Iris, the good times and the difficult ones, of which there were so many in Iris’s 45 years of service to the movement of the working class and oppressed people of the world.