He was a larger than life trade union leader, and in death he attracted thousands of people to pay their last respects.

Trade union members lined the route of a horse drawn cortege carrying the body of RMT leader Bob Crow, who died aged 52, following his funeral yesterday.

Hundreds of colourful union banners were displayed along the route from the council house where he lived in Woodford, Essex to City of London Cemetery.

Loading article content

A huge banner at the gates held up by Rail Maritime and Transport union members, read: "Bob Crow 1961- 2014. RIP Legend".

The four horses in the cortege had blue and white plumage, the colours of Mr Crow's beloved Millwall FC.

Posters of Mr Crow, who suffered an aneurysm and heart attack at home on March 11, were also displayed at Tube stations.

Paul Kenny, leader of the GMB union, one of many general secretaries paying tribute, said: "Bob was a remarkable fighter for working people, but he was also passionate about protecting the health and safety of the public, which he never got any credit for. He was a funny, witty, interesting man, and the union movement, in fact the whole country, will be a duller place without him."

Left wing groups also turned out to pay their respects, including the Socialist Party and National Shop Stewards Network, as well as groups within unions representing gas and lesbian workers.

RMT members travelled from across the UK to attend, many carrying small posters bearing the message: "Bob Crow, our leader, our legend, farewell comrade."

President Peter Pinkney said: "Bob's death leaves a massive gap in the lives of everyone who was fortunate enough to know him and represents a huge loss to the trade union and labour movement both in this country and internationally, and specifically, for the RMT members Bob led with such stunning success."

There were emotional scenes as the hearse arrived at the cemetery. Flowers were thrown at the coffin, people cheered and applauded and some sang the Internationale, a left-wing anthem. Others chanted: "The workers united will never be defeated."