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Larry CottonWe are Tottenham,Super Tottenham,From the Lane,

I was always interested in politics and trade unions. I joined the Royal Navy in 1948, signing on for 7 years and served most of that time in submarines, for which I volunteered, being discharged in 1955.

I quite quickly found a job on London Underground, working in the signal department. I immediately joined the trade union, then the National Union of Railwaymen… the NUR. Most of the 35 years that I was with London underground I spent on union duties, culminating in being elected to spend 3 years serving on the unions governing body, the Executive Council. This involved taking part in all the major decisions and negotiating with senior management on wages etc and calling for strike action on many occasions.

For many years I was the secretary of the London District Council, which represented all the union members on the underground. I organised many demonstrations. During the miners strike we collected contributions from all our branches in London and hired a van which we filled with food and a few more luxury items, including toys for the children. We drove up to the Yorkshire mining village of Armthorpe, which had recently been the victim of an assault by hooligan gangs from the London metropolitan police force.

Some time after that eye opener we went to a demonstration that the N.U.M. were holding in Mansfield. This time we saw for ourselves. The Met Police were beating up miners who were only trying to get back on their coaches to go home.

In 2005, I organised a mobile demonstration that moved from Glasgow to London, stopping at nineteen different towns and cities. We staged demonstrations and public meetings, in an attempt to place the re-nationalisation of railways back into the Labour Party’s policy. The demonstration had been timed to coincide with the general election that was held that year.

I am very proud of my involvement in my trade union and proud of the unions well deserved reputation as a fighting, campaigning union.

In 1987 I met Lizzi, my present wife. We were both very active being regular visitors to the gym and the swimming pools. We attended ballroom dancing lessons together and I was the manager of a local football team. Most weekends I was on the football pitches as an assistant referee. I was also the Chairman of the North West Kent branch of the British sub aqua club. We spent many weekends going on diving trips along the south coast, Devon and Cornwall. At least once each year I would arrange a diving holiday in the Mediterranean or, more often, the Red Sea. It was a blissful life together.

Until I suffered a serious stroke in September 2005. This left me paralysed down my left side and virtually confined to a wheelchair.

Since then I have found it impossible to accept the loss of the person that I used to be. Consequently I suffer prolonged bouts of depression. In fact I regard the day that I had the stroke, as the day that my life, in any real sense of that word, ended.

I am able to attend my club, Tottenham Hotspurs’s, home games, with my son. We sit in the wheelchair area and he drives me there and back. I spend time with my daughter, in London and I have also been abroad, with my wife to Spain and to Egypt, where I have, once again, Scuba dived with ScubaTrust, a group who specialise in getting the disabled under water.

But nothing seems to lift the dreadful feeling that I am not myself… and never will be. I think I will always miss the man I was.

Acrylic on Canvas

Acrylic on Canvas

Acrylic on Canvas

Acrylic on Canvas

 

 

Acrylic on Canvas

Acrylic on Canvas

Acrylic on Canvas

Acrylic on Canvas