I FIRST MET JANET PICKERING at the Young Socialists conference in 1971 after which I came to live in London and worked for the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers. She was working for Tribune and a big group of us were all active in support of the miners during the 1972 dispute. She subsequently married a former schoolmate of mine from Shropshire, Jon Pickering, who then worked for the Miners International in Brussels.
Janet was a great comrade, always there, supportive and active in all causes. She worked in Parliament mainly for Jeff Rooker, a stalwart of the Parliamentary Staffs Branch of Unite.
She was also an enormous source of cheer and information and remained a great comrade right to the end. Nothing went on in Parliament without Janet knowing about it, having an opinion and usually knowing the culprit!
Even when suffering greatly through the cancer that eventually took her from us she was telling me on the phone how the second leadership campaign was going and how she was doing phone canvassing. She then argued with me on the necessity of coming either into our campaign headquarters at the TSSA offices or the phone-bank.
She was always there, always fighting for the cause of socialism and always relentlessly optimistic.
Our condolences to her husband Mark, son William and all her enormous circle of friends, especially Keith and Valerie Veness who knew her even longer than me and were very supportive of her right to the end.
Thanks, Janet, for being a great comrade!
is Leader of the Labour Party