Tributes paid to former Redbridge mayor who has died after a stroke

A former Redbridge mayor, dedicated councillor and tireless school governor has died aged 83.

Retired architect John Smith, a Conservative councillor for 26 years, died on Sunday following a stroke.

In 1984 John was elected mayor of the borough and also later served as deputy mayor in 1991/92.

Former colleagues on the council remember him fondly and say not only will he be missed from the Redbridge Mayor’s Association but by the whole community who knew him. Former colleague Graham Borratt said: “I have known John all my political life and he was always so helpful and gentlemanly. I am very sad he has passed away.

“I visited him in hospital not long ago and we spoke about old times.

“He was a loyal servant to Redbridge and I have never known anyone who spent as much time and effort on being a councillor – he couldn’t have done more.

“He was a man of great knowledge which we all benefited from. He will be missed.”

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Mr Smith was educated at Cranbrook College, Ilford and was later awarded a diploma in architecture with a number of local landmarks beginning on his drawing board.

He was elected to Redbridge Council in 1968, and served as chairman of governors for schools including Loxford, Loxford Lane, Redbridge Technical College and both Cleveland and Woodland primary schools.

Speaking to the Recorder when he stepped down as head of governors at Woodland in 1998 Mr Smith said: “It has been hard work sometimes, but I have always enjoyed it.”

Mr Smith was also a member of Cranbrook Baptist Church, Wellesley Road, Ilford for many years, where he was a deacon and Sunday school leader.

John was described as a “thorough gentleman in every sense of the word”.

His funeral will be on Tuesday at Ilford Hospital Chapel, Ilford Hill.

His family have asked that no flowers be sent, but for donations to be made to Essex Air Ambulance Service and the Redbridge Stroke Association and be forwarded to Gilderson & Sons, Funeral Directors, High Road, Seven Kings.