Funeral held of former deputy South Tyneside Council leader Alan Kerr
Mr Kerr died peacefully on September 23 aged 85 after a long illness. He was cremated in a ceremony at South Shields Crematorium and many tributes have since been paid by former council colleagues.
He was the Labour representative for Monkton between his first election win in 1998 and retirement in 2020.
After serving on a number of committee, he later held cabinet positions, before rising to deputy leader from 2007 to 2019.
Family, friends, colleagues and grateful constituents from his 22 years on the council attended the funeral, with a eulogy and other tributes being read. Afterwards, a function was held in his honour at South Shields Town Hall.
Among the crowd of mourners were Mayor Pat Hay, council leader Tracey Dixon and former leaders Paul Waggott and Iain Malcolm.
The humanist eulogy described Mr Kerr’s love of Shakespeare, trains, football and, above all, family.
It also paid tribute to his hard work and dedication, including for charity, and reflected that in his youth he was “by all accounts a bit of a rebel”.
Daughter Helen Richards gave a moving recital of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 (Let me not to the marriage of true minds), followed by a humorous tribute from son Ian Kerr, which included some wonderfully bad puns which the family used to share.
Ian told mourners: “Dad genuinely felt that being part of a working class community, where no one was above offering to help friends and neighbours, or even a total stranger, was part of the birthright of being a Geordie.
“Trade unionist, party member, councillor - he always worked tirelessly to support the communities that he served.”
Ian added, on his father’s love of terrible puns: “Even something as simple as a boiled egg for breakfast would become an egg-stravaganza. This would quickly degenerate into worse and worse yolks, as we cracked each other up.”
There was a recital of a poem written by Alan Kerr himself. Music included Concierto de Aranjez, Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade and The Blaydon Races, reflecting his passion for football and Newcastle United particularly.
As well as his wife of 61 years Pat, Helen and Ian, Mr Kerr leaves behind his four beloved grandchildren.