December 19 2013 Latest news:
Ramzy Alwakeel, Reporter
Monday, October 14, 2013
Councillors from both sides of the chamber paid tribute to a “tiger” of Havering Council – former mayor Jack Hoepelman, who died earlier this month.
Labour stalwart Mr Hoepelman, a councillor for 27 years, gave “tremendous service to this borough and its residents,” said Cllr Keith Darvill (Labour, Heaton).
“He was passionate about education and highly respected throughout the borough for the work he carried out.
“Those who remember him will remember his passionate political views.
“He was a very fine example of a public servant.”
Tory cabinet member Cllr Roger Ramsey (Emerson Park) also praised Mr Hoepelman.
The two were sworn enemies inside the chamber, he said – but after Mr Hoepelman left the council they were “able to reminisce about those times, and laugh and joke”.
Cllr Barbara Matthews (Residents’ Association, Hacton) added she had seen a more human side to “formidable political opponent” Mr Hoepelman through their shared involvement in education.
“He was a very modest man but he gained respect from members around the chamber, regardless of political persuasion,” she said.
“He really did care about our youngsters and education.”
Cllr Ramsey echoed these thoughts, adding Mr Hoepelman had been very enthusiastic about school music lessons.
Mr Hoepelman’s former colleague at the Ford Motor Company Cllr Denis O’Flynn (Heaton, Labour) recalled his friend’s work as a shop steward.
The former mayor had been sacked from the firm during anti-communist witch hunts, he added – despite the fact Mr Hoepelman had not been a communist.
“There was a great sense of injustice that Jack was dismissed from the Ford Motor Company,” he said.
But Mr Hoepelman’s life wasn’t all politics. “He was an avid supporter of Tottenham Hotspur,” added Cllr O’Flynn, “and he was also an excellent cook and keen allotment holder. At one time he had three allotments.”
Highlighting the contrast between Mr Hoepelman’s fierce convictions and his placid personality outside the chamber, he said: “He was a tiger in here, and a sociable person out there.”