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Camden Town man remembers the day Tony Benn appeared on his doorstep in a Rolls-Royce

Nora Murray with husband John. Nora Murray with husband John.

Thursday, March 27, 2014
5:21 PM

In the wake of Tony Benn’s death, Camden Town resident Leeroy Murray was reminded of an extraordinary Sunday morning more than half a century ago when the Labour Party icon appeared on his doorstep.

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Heathman was intrigued to discover the story of Mr Benn’s visit to the Murray family’s prefabricated home in Savernake Road, Gospel Oak, on October 16, 1955.

On that day, a 10-year-old Mr Murray, now 68, looked out the window of his parents’ home to find a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce.

“This Rolls-Royce came along which was a strange sight to see,” he said. “Benn was sat in the back. He stopped and asked where the Murrays lived and I said: ‘Here’.

“We were terribly excited. We hadn’t seen a flash car like that and Tony Benn was very smartly dressed and had a charming sort of manner about him.”

Mr Benn had travelled to Gospel Oak to pick up Mr Murray’s mother, Nora, to take her to the Wood Green Empire Theatre where he would interview her for a TV programme about her life growing up in Russia.

Mrs Murray, who died in 1989 aged 69, had come to Britain at the height of the Second World War as a former Russian spy, having fallen in love with Mr Murray’s father John while he worked at the British embassy in Moscow.

Years later, Mr Benn responded to an e-mail from Mr Murray, now of Castlehaven Road, Camden Town, about the visit and insisted: “I have never owned a Rolls-Royce in my life so it must have belonged to the TV company!”

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