Croydon councillors are in shock today at the death of Town Hall stalwart and Norbury and Pollards Hill councillor Maggie Mansell.
Mansell had dedicated most of her life to serving the people of Croydon, having first been elected to Croydon Council in 1986. For 25 years continuously she had represented the people in and around her home neighbourhood of Pollards Hill and Norbury.
Mansell died in Mayday Hospital on Saturday after a short illness.
The grief expressed by her friends and colleagues, from all political parties, has been heightened by the way in which the spirited Mansell was active on council work just last week, and was an especially fit septuagenarian.
Mansell took a keen interest in health matters, having been a scientist and NHS staffer, and she regularly campaigned on NHS issues.
Mansell was first elected to the Croydon Council for West Thornton in May 1986, and after that initial four-year term she was returned to the Town Hall for Norbury in 1994, when Labour captured the ward from the Conservatives. Mansell was also a candidate for Labour in the first London Assembly elections in 2000 for Croydon and Sutton.
She was Mayor of Croydon from 2005 to 2006. More recently, she had chaired the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board.
It was Mansell who gave a eulogy for Malcolm Wicks, Croydon North’s previous Labour MP, at the party conference 2012.
Mansell was also chair of the governors at Norbury Manor Primary School.
Tributes to Mansell poured in yesterday after her constituency Labour Party had broken the news.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said that Mansell’s death was “such sad news”.
“Maggie Mansell was a passionate and dedicated campaigner, always at the heart of the Croydon community she served for many years. She will be very much missed,” he said.
Croydon North MP Steve Reed OBE also expressed his sadness at the news. “So shocked to learn that Cllr Maggie Mansell passed away yesterday – she was passionate about the NHS and her beloved Norbury, and was campaigning right up to the end. She leaves such a big hole,” he said.
Following the ward boundary changes implemented last year, Mansell was returned to the Town Hall for the reconfigured Norbury and Pollards Hill ward, along with Shafi Khan. Yesterday, he said, “I have lost a good partner (24 years) in politics who always had equality, justice and fairness at the heart of anything she has done.”
Mansell and Khan, when first elected to the council in 1994, won Norbury with a 2.6 per cent margin over the Conservatives. Mansell leaves a Norbury and Pollards Hill ward where Labour’s winning margin last May was 45.3 per cent. That progress for Labour must also be a lasting testament for Mansell.
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