Anne Murray obituary

Other lives: Labour councillor with a long record of public service

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.

Kate Murray

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Chandran Owen obituary
Other lives: Equality and diversity campaigner who helped facilitate consumer boycotts of South Africa

Rosemary Rosser

12, Jan, 2016 @11:49 AM

Article image
Jack Heery obituary
Other lives: Merseyside teacher, trade unionist and political activist

David Porteous

13, Jan, 2016 @11:41 AM

Article image
Bernard Barry obituary
Other lives: Trade unionist, teacher and campaigner against fascism

Paul Gosling

17, Dec, 2014 @2:58 PM

Article image
Margaret Joseph obituary
Other lives: Lifelong Labour party member and campaigner

Alison Joseph

20, Jun, 2016 @4:59 PM

Article image
Pat Finnon obituary
Other lives: Charity manager, counsellor and lifelong volunteer

Brendan Marsh

13, Jan, 2016 @4:56 PM

Article image
Lesley Anne Lane obituary
Other lives: School governor and hospital volunteer who supported her husband in his race relations work

Andrew and Jon Lane

16, Jul, 2015 @1:59 PM

Article image
Stephen Hewitt obituary
Other lives: Town planner who ensured the planning system was used to improve public health and wellbeing

Helen Hewitt

04, Nov, 2014 @6:01 PM

Article image
Paul Rayment obituary

Other lives: Labour activist who worked for his local community and contributed to the life of Cambridge

Penny Milsom

17, Jul, 2013 @2:40 PM

Article image
Peter Ackhurst obituary

Other lives: Architect and Labour councillor who fought the Heath government over control of council housing

Tony Belton

28, Jun, 2013 @4:32 PM

Article image
Angela Molloy obituary
Other lives: Angela Molloy was a long-time trade unionist and community activist who was once thrown out of the Ritz hotel in London after entering with a 'Coal Not Dole' placard

Veronica Lee

24, Jun, 2010 @6:02 PM