Layton mourners gather at Nanaimo plaza to share grief

Mourners gather at plaza to share grief over loss of late NDP leader Jack Layton.

Virginia Fenton

Virginia Fenton

Nanaimo residents gathered in Diana Krall Plaza Saturday to share their grief and pay tribute to late NDP leader Jack Layton during his televised funeral.

Wendy Mewhort was among the dozens of mourners. It was Layton’s heart and passion to create social change that she remembers and that motivated her to join the gathering.

“He stood for social justice and equality. He stood for issues before they were popular,” said Mewhort. “He was just a man of integrity – a man of inspiration.”

Mewhort said she appreciated that Layton, who died Aug. 22 at age 61, stood up for things from his heart and that he epitomized heart consciousness.

Sandy Askin was overwhelmed with emotion as she watched the big screen in the plaza. As a staunch NDP supporter for all her life, she was saddened at the loss of the federal party leader.

She said Layton was the leader she had been looking for her entire voting life.

Askin and her husband went to the plaza to be part of a larger gathering and connect with a community that was sharing their grief.

Askin said she knows the NDP party will weather his death and continue on to be strong a option.

“You can tell the spirit is there. We aren’t going to lose it. We won’t lose the idealism he had,” she said.