Labour mourn duo

PUBLISHED: 18:24 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:23 25 August 2010

LABOUR Party members are mourning the loss of two stalwarts of the trade unionist movement.

LABOUR Party members are mourning the loss of two 'stalwarts' of the trade unionist movement.

Former Bexley councillors Ian Russell, 83, from Erith, and Mike Barrett, 75, from Bexleyheath, passed away this summer after suffering from heart problems and cancer respectively.

Their loss came on the heels of the death of Greenwich councillor Kanta Patel, credited with doing much to help the borough's ethnic cohesion.

Mr Russell, a councillor for Erith town between 1950 and 1953, was a 'champion' of pensioners' rights according to Erith and Thamesmead MP John Austin.

The left-winger continued his political activity in his retirement and was known to have a love of the River Thames which he could see from his Erith flat, where he died.

Mr Barrett, councillor for Northumberland Heath between 1971 and 1974, was known as a tough left-wing campaigner who worked with the National League of the Blind.

Mr Austin said: "Both men were part of the generation of trade union activists which helped the Labour Party become the party of government.

"Sadly we see fewer people coming forward with their selfless devotion to the welfare of others.

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