Tribute to 'inspirational' Jarra Jim in House of Commons

Jarra Jim, who died last month.
Jarra Jim, who died last month.

A tribute has been paid to South Tyneside favourite 'Jarra' Jim Purcell at the House of Commons.

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn tabled a parliamentary motion commemorating the charity champion on Monday, the day of his funeral.

Jim - who became synonymous with the Great North Run after taking part in every event between 1982 and 2017 - passed away at the age of 96 last month.

Mr Hepburn's motion recognised that 'Mr Purcell will be remembered as an outstanding person for his tireless contribution to the local community through his volunteering and fundraising and salutes him for his service in the armed forces.'

It has already been signed by a number of MPs - including veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner - and Mr Hepburn is urging as many MPs as possible support the motion.

The text of the Early day motion reads: “That this House is saddened by the death of Jarrow legend, Jim Purcell, known affectionately as Jarra Jim who recently passed away aged 96; recognises that Mr Purcell will be remembered as an outstanding person for his tireless contribution to the local community through his volunteering and fundraising; recalls that Mr Purcell regularly completed the Great North Run well into his 90s, raising thousands of pounds for charities, being one of that event's most famous runners, even finishing the half-marathon despite having two knee replacements, inspiring people young and old to take part; further recalls that Mr Purcell proudly carried the Olympic torch when it passed through the area in 2012; salutes Mr Purcell for his service in the armed forces, notably being a Dunkirk veteran; notes that South Tyneside Council will be lowering its flags as a mark of respect; hopes that local people in South Tyneside give Mr Purcell the send-off he deserves at his funeral in Jarrow on 5 March 2018; and offers condolences to Mr Purcell's family and friends.”

Mr Hepburn said: “I am proud to have tabled this Commons motion to commemorate the life of ‘Jarra’ Jim Purcell.

"He was a local legend and will be deeply missed by all of his family and friends.

"Jim has left a legacy and we will never forget him.”