My mother, Anne Murray, who has died aged 85, had a proud record of public service. From social housing to grassroots football and from community relations to co-operatives in Jamaica, she was involved with a host of causes, and her community work was driven by an overriding passion for social justice.
The youngest of five children of Frederick Wakeford, an engineer, and his wife, Violet, Anne joined the Labour party not long after leaving Dartford grammar school for girls, undeterred by her mother’s dismissive comment that “you stoop down and you pick nothing up”.
She trained as a shorthand typist, and her early professional life included a stint working for the Guinness heir Lord (Bryan) Moyne. Her introduction to politics came through serving on Lambeth council from 1958 to 1965. At the Labour conference in Blackpool in 1959, she met my father, Albert Murray, then a Southwark councillor. They married the following April and moved to Gravesend when Albert was elected to parliament in 1964. Anne worked as his unpaid secretary in those pre-expenses days, but after he lost his seat she looked around for a new career and became manager of the fledgling Gravesend Churches Housing Association.
When she first joined the housing association in 1972, she ran it with the help of two volunteers from a church vestry. By the time she retired 21 years later, the organisation provided hundreds of affordable homes across the area.
She continued to support Albert, through both the tough times – when he had to return to casual work on national newspapers after his election defeat – and the good, when he was a member of Harold Wilson’s political office, when he served on the European parliament and, after he was made a life peer as Baron Murray of Gravesend in 1976, in the House of Lords.
After Albert’s death in 1980, she threw herself into the local community, both in her professional life and her voluntary work.
In 1993 she was elected to Gravesham council, later becoming chair of housing and mayor. A great host, and always interested in others, she gave her time to a variety of organisations, including the North Kent Sunday football league, the Community Relations Council, the Co-op, the NSPCC and the Royal British Legion, with which she had a special affinity after her only brother was killed in Normandy in 1944.
Anne is survived by my brother, Tim, and me, and by her four grandchildren: Milo, Albie, Cicely and Lydia.