Geoff Taylor: Former speaker and Hackney councillor dies aged 70

Geoff Taylor. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

Geoff Taylor. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine - Credit: Gary Manhine

Tribute have been paid to Geoff Taylor, the former Hackney speaker and councillor for 16 years who has died aged 70.

Geoff served as a Labour councillor in Victoria ward from 2002 to 2018, and was the town hall's cabinet member for finance from 2014 to 2017.

As a former teacher, he always took a great interest in the welfare of Hackney's children and campaigned for better secondary school provision in his ward, culminating in the opening of Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy five years ago.

He had stepped down as a councillor in May last year after becoming unwell. Last week he was transferred to St Joseph's Hospice and died on Friday morning with his wife Elizabeth holding his hand.

Victoria's Cllr Katie Hanson said: "Geoff was my fellow ward councillor, my mentor and my friend. He was kind, thoughtful and principled, and will be greatly missed".

Mayor Phil Glanville added: "His passion for education, Hackney, local history, young people and Europe was second to none. He'll be greatly missed by us all."

Geoff served as speaker of Hackney in 2004, supporting charities helping new parents. He chaired the council's Children and Young People's Scrutiny Commission twice, and was a champion of Sure Start and children's centres, once attending a parenting course to see for himself the quality of what was being provided.

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Outside of public service Geoff was a gifted musician and member of a community choir, and a keen historian, authoring a book titled A Parish in Perspective: A history of the church and parish of St John of Jerusalem, South Hackney.

Cllr Ian Rathbone, chair of the Hackney Labour Group of Councillors, said: "I knew Geoff for many years and he was a good community person long before he became a councillor.

"He was a very dedicated person in helping to improve the lives of others in whatever way he could. He encouraged other newer councillors, and was an excellent mentor and friend to them. A credit to the Labour movement."

Geoff also chaired the Hackney Joint Estates Charity for many years, distributing funds for the benefit of local people through the Hackney Parochial Charities.

His funeral is at 11am on Thursday at St John of Jerusalem, South Hackney. All are welcome to attend.

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