Published: 23 June, 2016
By DAN CARRIER
TRIBUTES have been paid to former Camden mayor Gloria Lazenby, who died on Sunday.
Gloria, 87, served as a councillor between 1986 and 2002 and was the borough’s first citizen in 1996.
Her home in St Martin’s Close, Camden Town, was a haven for like-minded community activists where she lived with her cats, Nelson, Winnie, Che and Rosa.
Somers Town Labour councillor Roger Robinson said: “I had the pleasure of working with Gloria for some years in St Pancras and Somers Town. She was a great comrade and a very hard-working councillor.
“I was very fond of her as a friend and we will all miss her. Even when she left the Labour Party and stood as an independent it did not in any way affect our friendship and I have very happy memories of times spent with her.
“She was a very strong and committed Socialist and she cared deeply for the community she served.”
Holborn Labour councillor Julian Fulbrook, who served with Gloria, said she was unwavering in pursuing her principles, and her uncompromising stance sometimes put her at odds with other party colleagues.
He said: “She was a very passionate fighter on behalf of the people of St Pancras and a considerable force for the good in the borough.
“I was very sorry when she fell out with elements of the Labour leadership. She was not afraid to confront power. She always stood up for what she felt was right.”
In the 1950s and 1960s, Gloria was an active member of the left wing King’s Cross-based Unity Theatre and later helped organise the Unity Folk Club with her friend Jack Firestein.
Cllr Robinson added: “Her dedication to Unity was another example of her putting her political principles into practice.”
Gloria was also a director for the Camden Town Neighbourhood Association, a volunteer-led group in Greenland Place that offered advice and help. When the Town Hall evicted the group in 2003, she allowed the service to continue to operate from her home.
She left the Labour Party in the 2000s following political disagreements with some of her Town Hall colleagues, and then stood as an independent for the council but was narrowly defeated.
She was also a passionate protector of Camden Town’s industrial heritage, working to preserve and protect the canals, and was a past chairwoman of the London Canals Committee.
In recent months, despite her illness, she joined junior doctors on picket lines at University College Hospital and took part in the People’s Assembly march through central London in April.