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Friends mourn the loss of ‘man of the community’ Tom Horlock

PUBLISHED: 08:11 24 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:11 24 May 2017

Freedom of the borough Tom Horlock

Freedom of the borough Tom Horlock

Archant

A war hero who was awarded the freedom of the borough in 2011 for his work in the community has died at the age of 97.

Tom Horlock, of Cranham, died on May 11 but his lifelong dedication to the local Labour Party and young people means he will never be forgotten by those whose lives he touched.

Heaton ward councillor Keith Darvill first met him more than 30 years ago

“Tom was one of the most influential people in my life apart from my parents,” said Keith. “When I first moved into Cranham he knocked on my door and introduced himself and welcomed me to the area.

“I realised how influential and important he was to the organisation in Havering and he wasn’t the sort of person that would be anxious for political advancement for himself.”

Tom was one of the first Allied soldiers to liberate concentration camps towards the end of the Second World War and also had a big impact on Keith’s son Simon, the secretary for Hornchurch & Upminster constituency Labour Party, who said he was like a “mentor”.

“Tom was always passionate about young people. He would never speak down to young people,” said Simon. “For me, he was quite a mentor figure, a great teacher of politics and was always willing to listen to you and would encourage participation.

“He had that connection with the political side of life and the community we work in - he was an amazing person.

“Everyone who I’ve spoken to has said how much they will miss him, how he got everyone together and built a community - it’s a big loss.”

Cllr Denis O’Flynn, who has twice been mayor of Havering, said Tom was a “man of the community”.

“He was a sterling character. Once in a lifetime you meet someone like Tom and I for one will solemnly miss him.

“Tom was a man in a million.”

Tom’s funeral will be held on June 6 at Herongate Wood Cemetary, Brentwood.

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