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Charlie Siret worked for many years as a crane driver at the Pressed Steel factory in Oxford. A stalwart of the TGWU 5/60 branch, Siret was night shift steward and lived in Oxford Road, Farmoor.
A keen supporter of CND throughout life, in retirement, Charlie was Midlands regional secretary of the T&G Retired Members Association and deputy chair of the RMA national executive.
He was also a regular contributor to the letters pages of the Oxford Mail and a resolute campaigner against the charges to cross Swinford Bridge, a privately owned toll bridge south of Eynsham. The bridge carries the road between Farmoor and Eynsham.
Charlie was repeatedly refused to pay the charge, which he described as an anachronism, and faced court proceedings in 1995 after refusing to pay the 5p fee, which had risen from 2p, although charges were never pressed.
Charlie died on October 31, aged 76. The Oxford Mail reported his funeral in testament to his abidingly militant spirit. Mourners gave him a fitting send-off by driving in an eight-car convoy behind his hearse across Swinford Bridge without paying the toll. Alerted in advance by Charlie’s family, the bridge owners turned a blind eye to the refusal to pay as their own mark of respect to a doughty former adversary!
Sources: Phil Clegg; Oxford Times 9th November 2002