Words & original pics by Ed King – initial image supplied by Naz Rasheed
In a phone call made on the morning he died, Jack Dromey’s final words to a friend and colleague were a last shot of his trademark inspiration.
Speaking to each other early on Friday 7 January, Mr Dromey ended the conversation with words of encouragement for Birmingham Labour’s BAME Officer, telling Naziah Rasheed: “…there’s nothing you cannot do. There’s nothing you cannot achieve.”
An inspiration to many across both the pollical spectrum and his own constituency, with tributes pouring in since the announcement of his death, Jack Dromey’s final words to his close party ally stand as a fitting epitaph to his dedication to help and support others.
Talking exclusively to Erdington Local, Naziah remembered her final phone call with Jack Dromey, where she was seeking help with party business on the upcoming local elections.
She told: “He was at home (Highcroft Villas, Erdington) and was saying he had to jump in the shower as he was running late, because he had to go to Castle Vale to meet Ray Goodwin (Spitfire Services).
“I needed help and advice on Birmingham May 2022 local elections and Jack was my go-to guy if things got tough, I’m on the executive board and there’s a lot of work with selections coming up. My confidence was low, and I was saying: ‘Jack, I’m just not sure I can do this.’
“He listened and just calmly said to me: ‘Naz, there is nothing you cannot do. There is nothing you cannot achieve.’ And that was it. Those were the last words he spoke to me.
“This is something that he always used to tell me. ‘I’ve seen you doing things, I’ve seen you speaking to people. I can see what you can do… and there is nothing you can’t do.’ He used to say that to me all the time.
“This is what he was repeating (in our phone call), he was telling me ‘Naz there is nothing you cannot do.’
“It made me feel there was somebody who believed in me, somebody who thought I had the capacity and the ability to achieve things.”
Naziah Rasheed had been appointed Birmingham Labour’s BAME Officer following her work supporting Labour’s West Midlands mayoral candidate, Liam Byrne MP.
One of her first community projects was a belated Eid Fair in Stockland Green, bringing multi-faith communities together at a safe time to celebrate following Covid lockdown restrictions.
Held at Highcroft Community Centre, the Eid Fair was attended by hundreds of people and families from all religious and cultural backgrounds – with Jack Dromey supporting Naziah in her first major outreach event.
Naziah added: “The Eid Fair was a good opportunity to bring the communities together, to celebrate something together. I asked Jack, you know what are your thoughts on this? And he said this is a brilliant idea, something we’ve never done in the past, and I’ll support you.
“We had a really good turnout. And Jack was taking tables in and out of the (Highcroft Community) centre. He helped with the cleaning afterwards, with me, my husband, and the kids.
“He was there until we were done at the centre, even the night before he came to see how the preparations were going. His support was always there for me.
“He was a role model to me. He was a very good friend at the same time. I will miss him tremendously.”
Following Jack Dromey’s sudden death on Friday 7 January, tributes from across the community have flooded in – with people who knew and worked with him laying flowers outside his constituency office on Mason Road.
The first bouquet was laid by Short Heath Fields Trust, a local campaign group who have been fighting Birmingham City Council plans to build house on Short Heath Playing Fields (SHFT) – with Jack Dromey brokering often heated meetings between the Council Leader’s office and SHFT.
Often at professional loggerheads with each other, a healthy respect was fostered between Jack Dromey and the SHFT campaigners – with the long standing union man often celebrating their tenacity and achievements.
Featuring a red rose and a ribbon emblazoned with ‘JACK’, the card accompanying the flowers form SHFT states: ‘Jack, you kept your word. Promised & delivered us a seat at the table’ – reiterating a commitment the MP had once made to the campaigners.
More flowers began to appear outside the constituency office from Friday evening onward.
Another bouquet carried the message: ‘Rest in peace Mr Dromey., You were a legend and legends will live forever.’
Jack Dromey was found dead at his constituency on Friday 7 January, after police were alerted following a missed meeting scheduled for 11:30am.
He is survived by his wife, Labour MP Harriet Harman, and his three children.
For more on Jack Dromey visit www.jackdromey.co.uk