A friend of Bob Crow, who died earlier this week, has told how she met the trade union leader through their shared love of dogs.

Angela Kennedy, lecturer at the Open University and a Woodford Green resident, said the pair became “dog park friends” and described how he helped her campaign against restrictions on owning certain breeds classified as dangerous.

She said: “Bob and I were 'dog park friends'. I often met him around the streets of our shared local community, sometimes as he walked home from the Tube station,” she said.

“My own experience of Bob, even while I knew of and admired his formidable role, has also been of a warm, gentle family man who spoke lovingly of his family and his dog. But he also had a great generosity of spirit when it came to supporting others in their fights against injustice, even if they weren't 'in his union'.”

Ms Kennedy carried out research into dog legislation and campaigned against a ban on owning Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosa Dogo and Argentino Fila Brasileiros, which was introduced in 1991.

She added: “I will always be particularly grateful for the support he gave me in a political and legal campaigning project of my own. This was something we talked about in the park and the street, as fellow dog-owners and inhabitants of our local community. But he was also looking to see how he could help me in more formal ways too, such was his generosity of spirit.

“I last saw Bob a few weeks ago, outside Londis. He got my name mixed up with my dogs: an occupational hazard we all tend to do!

“I feel privileged to have known him personally, as a fellow dog-walker, and generally as part of our local community.  Like many no doubt, in the community, throughout London and indeed globally, I shall miss him dreadfully.”

Mr Crow, the leader of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, dead of a heart attack on Monday.