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Forum newsletter the final straw for Denis

PUBLISHED: 11:52 01 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:39 09 July 2010

ONE of the best known faces of the Havering Over 50s Forum has thrown in the towel, slamming what he believes is the sickening political bias of the organisation. Denis O Flynn, former long-serving Labour councillor and twice mayor, resigned from the ex

ONE of the best known faces of the Havering Over 50s Forum has thrown in the towel, slamming what he believes is the "sickening" political bias of the organisation.

Denis O'Flynn, former long-serving Labour councillor and twice mayor, resigned from the executive committee on Saturday after reading the Forum's newsletter.

The Forum, which has around 200 members, is intended to be non-political.

However, Mr O'Flynn, 75, from Helmsdale Road Rise Park, was so offended by the "anti-Brown" comments in the newsletter that he walked out of the monthly forum and later handed in his letter of resignation.

He said: "I went in, paid my subscription for the year, got a copy of the newsletter, read it, and the double standards just sickened me."

"There were two political remarks about the PM. It was leaning towards pro-conservatism in an anti-Brown way. I was so angry I just got up and walked out."

The offending comments were included in a retrospective piece by Joan Grant called Past Times.

She said: "What a lovely part of our lives has gone and I am sorry that Gordon Brown didn't see fit to help the 27,000 who lost their jobs and help our High Streets to maintain their tradition."

Mr O'Flynn also pointed to a poem by Brian Hooper which in part read: "Don't grow old in England, 'cos it ain't a lot of fun. The Government don't want you when your working days are done."

But former RAF serviceman Brian Hooper defended his poem, saying it was not offensive to the Forum.

He added: "I didn't think it was particularly political."

Mr O'Flynn, who has four times been a Labour parliamentary candidate, including twice in Romford, once in Hitchin, and once in Upminster, argued the Forum has never been party-political, and would lose credibility if it began now.

In his resignation letter Mr O'Flynn, who has been a Forum member for three years and is also responsible for booking guest speakers, said: "I would like to make clear I am not against the Forum being political but I object to party politics."

Havering Over 50s Forum Chairman Bill Flintham was away on holiday and unavailable for comment.

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