Category Archives: Obituaries

Aberdeen Council “Giant” Ron Clark passes away

The Aberdeen Press and Journal has the sad news:

A veteran Aberdeen councillor, described as a “giant” of the community by colleagues, has died.

Ron Clark, Liberal Democrat member for Dyce, Bucksburn and Danestone, died last night after being admitted to hospital earlier in the week.

Mr Clark, who was in his mid-70s, marked 30 years of public service last year.

His council colleagues paid tribute to a hard-working character who had dedicated himself to serving his local community.

Last night Liberal Democrat council leader John Stewart said: “Ron has been a great servant for the people of Dyce for many, many years. Last

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Long-serving West Berkshire Councillor Keith Lock passes away

Liberal Democrat Councillor Keith Lock, who represented Mortimer Ward in West Berkshire, died on Saturday night in hospital in Reading, having broken his hip a few weeks ago.

Keith had been a Councillor for West Berkshire and the predecessor Newbury District Council for 38 years. During that time he had twice held the positions of Leader and Chairman of Council.

The Reading Chronicle reports:

The Lib Dem councillor, who was born in Welling, Kent, moved to Mortimer in 1969 and sat on West Berkshire Council from its formation in 1998, having also served on its predecessor, Newbury District Council, since it was

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Rachel Smith RIP

Rachel Smith first came into my life last year,  through the medium of Twitter, where she tweeted as @rachelolgeirsso. Witty and intelligent, Rachel readily engaged others in conversations about politics, life and popular culture. Although we were both active Lib Dems, we’d be as likely to exchange comments about The Apprentice or Strictly Come Dancing as about the coalition or political policies.

Rachel had been an active tweeter through the general election and the formation of the coalition, strong about the Lib Dems place in government and scathing as to what she saw as Labour’s opportunism and hypocrisy, especially where it related to her own constituency of Sheffield Hallam and her MP, the Deputy Prime Minister. So it was no surprise when in July she started blogging. The reason for this soon became clear: Rachel was looking for a distraction whilst she was in hospital, undergoing chemotherapy for leukaemia.

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Simon Hughes pays tribute to Claire Rayner

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Simon Hughes has paid tribute to Claire Rayner, the NHS campaigner, agony aunt and Liberal Democrat member who died yesterday:

Claire Rayner was a wonderful, no-nonsense, agony aunt to the nation, but also she was much more than that.

Claire’s campaigning was an inspiration to millions and especially to Liberal Democrats, who were so proud that she was a member of our party.

Continuous work and campaigning to improve our National Health Service for all our patients will be the best sort of tribute our country can give her.

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Tributes pour in for Sir Cyril Smith

Lib Dem Voice reported yesterday the sad passing of Sir Cyril Smith, one of the party’s best-known figures, who served as Rochdale’s MP for two decades.

Tributes have been pouring in as a mark of appreciation for Cyril’s life. Nick Clegg issued the following statement:

“Cyril Smith was a larger-than-life character and one of the most recognisable and likeable politicians of his day. I am deeply saddened to hear the news of his death today, and offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

“Everybody in Rochdale knew him not only as their MP but also as a friend. He

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RIP Cyril Smith

News has just reached the Voice that Sir Cyril Smith, for 20 years Liberal (then Liberal Democrat) MP for Rochdale, has just passed away.

Just over two years agho, Lib Dem Voice published an appreciation of Cyril’s life to mark his 80th birthday:

You’ve got to come to Rochdale to understand properly Sir Cyril’s popularity. He doesn’t get out much these days, but when he does… Rochdale comes to a standstill. Many people remember the Cyril from the 1970s and early ’80s. The Cyril who was Chief Whip during the Jeremy Thorpe scandal; the Cyril who appeared on national TV alongside

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Donna Boffa RIP

Sad news has reached us here at Lib Dem Voice that Islington Councillor Donna Boffa died today after a long illness.

From the Islington Tribune:

Cllr Boffa, 43, was first elected to represent Bunhill ward in 2003, in a by-election following the death of Lib Dem Cllr Rose Wooding. She leaves behind five children.

Islington Council leader Lib Dem Cllr Terry Stacy said: “Donna was a fighter right through to the end. From the day she was elected a councillor, Donna never forgot where she came from or who she was there to represent. Donna was all about helping the people without

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Chris Clarke: an appreciation

This week sees the memorial service for Chris Clarke, former leader of the LGA Liberal Democrat Group

He was always Chris. Even when he gained a knighthood in 2005, he was just very occasionally Sir Chris. No pomposity there.

I came across Chris first of all as Leader of Somerset County Council and thus someone from one of our most successful counties and regions. He was larger than life at the Local Government Association even before he was successfully elected as Leader of its Liberal Democrat Group.

He gave clarity to the Liberal Democrat push within that organisation but also made it clear …

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Times obituary of Anna Werrin

We reported last month the sad death of Anna Werrin, the highly influential personal assistant to Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy throughout his Parliamentary career until his resignation as party leader.

Today’s Times publishes an obituary of Anna in its Lives in Brief section:

Anna Werrin, personal assistant to Charles Kennedy, was born on June 14, 1959. She died after a stroke on December 18, 2009, aged 50

Anna Werrin was the personal assistant to Charles Kennedy, and throughout his leadership of the Liberal Democrats she was his principal aide, head of office and, effectively, his gatekeeper — and

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Anna Werrin RIP

Sad news has reached us here at Lib Dem Voice that Anna Werrin has died of a stroke. Anna worked for Charles Kennedy from the year he was first elected to Parliament, in 1983, and was his head of office until his resignation as leader of the Lib Dems in 2006. She was subsequently Chris Huhne’s campaign manager in his second leadership attempt, in 2007.

On behalf of the team here at LDV, we extend our sympathies to Anna’s family and friends. Please do leave your tributes in the comments thread, below.

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Hereward Cooke dies

The Eastern Daily Press has the sad news:

Hereward Cooke, a hugely popular Norwich priest and former leader of Norwich City Council’s Liberal Democrat group, has died while at the Copenhagen climate change conference.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, announced with great regret the unexpected and sudden death of the Revd Canon Cooke.

He died in his sleep at the age of 70…

In 2000, Hereward became involved in local politics as city councillor for the Lakenham ward and went on to be leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the city council.

He retired in 2008 and in 2009

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RIP Sir Ludovic Kennedy

The BBC reports:

The author, broadcaster and campaigner Sir Ludovic Kennedy has died aged 89. A former BBC Panorama journalist, Sir Ludovic spent decades investigating miscarriages of justice, including the case of the Birmingham Six. He contributed to the abolition of the death penalty and was also president of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.

Nick Clegg has joined in the tributes to Sir Ludovic, a member of the Liberal party and later the Lib Dems, for most of his life:

Ludovic Kennedy was one of the great thinkers of his generation. His pursuit of justice and his championing of sometimes unpopular and controversial causes marked him out as a true liberal. He will be greatly missed.”

Sir Ludovic was the Liberal candidate and runner-up in the 1958 Rochdale by-election, propelling the party to its highest vote in the constituency since the 1920s, with the Tories pushed from first to third place. It was the first UK election to feature televised debates between the candidates, with Granada also broadcasting the count – another first.

He quit the Lib Dems in 2001 in protest at Charles Kennedy’s refusal to countenance legalised euthanasia, even standing as an independent candidate for the cause in Devizes, Wiltshire, polling just over 1,000 votes. He later re-joined the party.

During the 1980s and ’90s, Sir Ludovic gained fame among a new generation (such as myself) through his appearances as himself in the superior BBC comedy programme, Yes, Minister, as well as his interviews with Peter Cook, playing Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling, for A Life in Pieces. Here’s the first programme from that fantastic series, first broadcast in December 1990:

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Stephen Gately RIP: New beginning, sad ending

RIP Stephen Gately, the singer who rose to fame thanks to Boyzone, and who has died aged just 33. His solo career was not the soaring success he might have hoped when the Irish band split up – though three Top 20 singles is more than most of the rest of us will manage.

Indeed, it’s likely that Lib Dems will be among those most familiar with his work, for his debut solo track, New beginning, was adopted by the party as its theme tune for the 2001 general election (and used subsequently at many party conferences).

Lib Dem blogger Stephen Glenn pays fuller tribute here. Below is the TOTP video of New beginning:

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RIP Tom Blumenau

From the Guardian’s obituary:

Tom had a strong social conscience and a feeling of moral obligation towards both individuals and the wider community. He was a magistrate for 15 years, a founder member of the Social Democratic party (SDP) and active in the constituency party for the SDP and later for the Liberal Democrats. Arguably his most fulfilling work was with Amnesty International (of which, together with his wife, Eva, he was a founder member) and with its offspring, the Prisoner of Conscience Fund. He set up and later became the chairman of the St John’s Wood, London, branch of

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Ralf Dahrendorf obituary

Yesterday the Financial Times ran an obituary from Liberal Democrat peer William Wallace:

Ralf Dahrendorf, who has died at the age of 80, crowded several careers, in Germany and Britain, into a single life.

First a leading academic sociologist, then a rising Liberal German politician, director of the London School of Economics and later warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford, he combined political engagement and intellectual debate. He was successively a German minister, a European commissioner and a British peer. He was a European public intellectual; the author of nearly 30 books, and a long-standing columnist for Die Zeit and La Repubblica

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Barbara Alexander RIP

In today’s Guardian, Stephen Keeler pays tribute to former Liberal Democrat councillor Barbara Alexander:

My friend and former colleague Barbara Alexander, who has died after a long illness aged 70, was an inspirational teacher, a dedicated local councillor and a tireless worker on behalf of a number of charities. …

Both were elected to Richmond-upon-Thames council in 1990, and Barbara worked tirelessly as a Liberal Democrat councillor and school governor, increasing her workload after Gavin’s death in 1993. She was deputy council leader, sat on education and social services committees, and chaired the governing bodies of Hampton community college and Carlisle infant

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Julian Cummins

There’s an obituary in today’s Guardian.

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