December 10 2013 Latest news:
by Sam Gelder
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Long-serving Labour councillor and former Mayor of Havering Jack Hoepelman died last week aged 80 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Mr Hoepelman was a Havering councillor for 27 years and mayor from 1994-1996.
Born in east London but living in Elm Park from the age of two, Mr Hoepelman showed an interest in politics from an early age. He campaigned for Labour candidate Geoffrey Bing in 1945, aged just 13.
He worked for London transport as a bus mechanic after losing his job as a shop steward, though his passion for politics remained. Mr Hoepelman stood for his first council election in 1968, before working as vice-chairman of education to ensure all Havering secondary schools were made comprehensive – a proposal initially rejected by education minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher.
His most famous public meeting was meant to be with Tony Benn in Romford in the run-up to the 1983 election, until Mr Benn was replaced as speaker by Greater London Council member Dave Wetzel. The debate on bus timetable injustices was not what Mr Hoepelman had hoped to discuss.
He became mayor when Labour leader and friend Arthur Latham turned to him to take the role. He won the contested election despite not being the obvious choice, and, according to Mr Latham, enjoyed his time as mayor.
He married Margaret in July 1955 and the couple had two children, Chris and Jenny.
Mr Latham said: “He and Margaret were down-to-earth people. He enjoyed his period as mayor and the people he came across enjoyed his presence.”
His funeral is due to take place at Corbets Tey crematorium, Ockenden Road, Upminster on Wednesday. Donations to the Parkinson’s Society welcome at www.parkinsons.org.uk.
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