Ivy Needham: Crowds pay their respects to veteran Leeds campaigner

Ivy Needham.
Ivy Needham.
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CROWDS gathered at a crematorium in Leeds to pay their respects to a veteran campaigner.

Friends and family of Ivy Needham packed out Cottingley Crematorium on Friday, January 3, to remember the well-known Leeds stalwart, who was awarded an MBE for leading the fight for the Maxwell pensioners in the 1990s.

Grandmother-of-four Ivy passed away at Copper Hill Nursing Home in Hunslet on December 19 last year, at the age of 88.

Members of Mrs Needham’s family travelled from Teesside and Essex for the funeral and after the service, guests were invited to the Jack Charlton Suite at Elland Road.

Daughter Wendy Fletcher said: “We decided to host it there because my dad and granddad were big Leeds United supporters and mum used to go there too.”

Mr Needham dedicated the majority of her life championing various causes.

She was most well-known for her involvement with the Maxwell pensioners, when it emerged that corrupt publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell had plundered millions of pounds from his employees’ pension funds.

The widow, who was registered blind and deaf, headed the campaign after she was made redundant from Petty’s Printers on Christmas Eve in 1982.

Mrs Needham’s fight also took her to the European Parliament in Brussels and the House of Commons where she handcuffed herself to railings.

In 1996, after she was crowned Yorkshirewoman of the Year, she was awarded an MBE.

Mrs Needham also campaigned over issues including the firefighters’ strike in 1992; charges to pensioners for home help in 2003 and proposed day centre closures in 2009.

She has also raised over £4,000 for Help for Heroes.

Mrs Needham also leaves son Kingsley, 57.

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