A blue plaque was officially unveiled in honour of a trade unionist who became Baron of Epping Forest today.

Lionel Murray, Baron Murray of Epping Forest, a trade unionist and member of the Labour Party, died in 2004.

Friends and family gathered outside Lord Murray’s house, in The Crescent, Loughton, for the ceremony this morning.

Len’s son, Loughton Town Mayor Cllr Stephen Murray, welcomed almost 50 people outside the former family home to commemorate the event.

This is Loughton’s 42nd blue plaque since the heritage plaque project was set up in 1997.

Describing the turnout, Cllr Murray said: “It was incredible, I'm really pleased. Dad deserved it. It was nice to be able to do while we still own the family home.”

Heather, Len’s wife of nearly 60 years, died last Easter having lived at the home since 1945.

Born in 1920 in Shropshire, Lord Murray was a trade unionist for almost 40 years before being made a peer in 1985. He had been made an OBE in 1966.

As well as focusing on national political issues, Len was also passionate about supporting local government and charities in Loughton. He also served as a Methodist preacher.

Describing his father, Cllr Murray said: “As a dad, he was extremely supportive and loving and as a person, very caring and considerate, always seeking solutions in confrontations.

“He was generally liked by people as you can see from the turnout.

“He died 14 years ago and there’s still people here wanting to remember him.”

Environment and heritage committee chairman Cllr Chris Pond said: “I looked to Lionel with great respect. I found him most likeable of colleagues. He was always willing to help.

“Len was a very modest chap. He would probably say it was a lot of fuss over nothing.

“Most of us here today knew Len and really appreciated what he as a public and national figure and a great supporter of local causes so we think it’s very appropriate.

“Everybody looked up to Len. As a national leader he succeeded remarkably, and he was a reasonable and very modest man.”

The ceremony was closed with a blessing by Trinity Church leader, Ian King, in honour of the Murray’s family faith.

Judy Adams, chairman of Epping Forest Heritage Trust, also attended the ceremony to remember the charity’s former president of fifteen years.

“He was so enthusiastic about the forest and supported our walks, she explained.

“Having Len part of the House of Lords really helped. There wer threats and developments to the forest which he helped prevent and he was able to speak up for us.”

When asked what she thought about Len’s blue plaque, she said: “Well worth it. He asked about you and never spoke about himself, very focused on caring for other people.

“He had an enormous impact, he was a lovely man who bought people together.”