Labour party pays tribute to former Hackney councillor Geoff Taylor who has retired after 16 years service
- Credit: Gary Manhine
Labour party members have commissioned a huge pot and planted a red rose bush in it as a gift for long-standing councillor Geoff Taylor, who has stepped down after 16 years’ service.
Geoff was elected to Victoria ward in 2002, became Hackney Speaker in 2004, and served in mayor Phil Glanville’s cabinet as finance chief.
But he decided not to stand for re-election in May.
Victoria branch secretary Penny Wrout came up with the “rather unoriginal idea” of giving him a red rose as a momento and “thank you” from the branch.
Former councillor Joannie Andrews then suggested commissioning a pot to put it in from Caroline Gregory, the potter who works in Lauriston Road – at the heart of the ward Geoff represented.
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Penny told the Gazette: “Naturally there was then a certain amount of debate – this is the Labour Party, after all – about what the words on the pot should be.
“In the end we went for clear and factual, which is very much in Geoff’s style, so the inscription reads: ‘Geoff Taylor, much appreciated Labour councillor for Hackney Victoria Ward from May 2002 to May 2018’.
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“Geoff left a career in education, and got immersed in council and community work. He’s a real lynchpin of the community around here. He’s incredibly well known to his constituents because he’s been an active councillor on their behalf, and he’s done case work and taken up causes. He’s not one of those councillors who tries to do as little as possible – on the contrary.”
Labour’s Victoria branch chair Penny Vera-Sanso also paid tribute to Geoff.
“During Geoff’s 16 years’ service he made many friends as a passionate advocate of strong community ties, through schools, residents associations and places of worship,” she said. “As a skilled politician Geoff won over opponents with his good tempered, well-judged reasoning and was brave enough to champion less than popular causes on occasion.
“His political style was quiet collaboration, combined with absolute clarity on the impacts that Conservative austerity measures are having on Hackney.”
Clare Joseph and Alex Kuye have now been elected to represent Victoria ward.