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Obituary: former Mayor of Redbridge Maureen Hoskins


Redbridge Liberal Democrats are mourning a former Mayor of Redbridge who made a “huge” contribution to the community over many decades.

Maureen Hoskins, who lived in South Woodford with husband, Richard, 83, also a former Redbridge Councillor, was a Liberal Democrat councillor for Church End ward from 1986 to 2006.

She was also the last surviving councillor to have served on the Wanstead and Woodford Borough Council, where she represented Churchfields ward from 1961 to 1965.

Gwyneth Deakins, chair of Redbridge Liberal Democrats, said: “We were very sorry indeed to hear of Maureen Hoskins’ passing. She made a huge contribution to the cause of Liberals and Liberal Democrats in Redbridge and, of course, to the wider community of South Woodford and Redbridge.

“Maureen was greatly respected within our party and by her constituents, as shown by the fact that she and Richard were regularly re-elected.

“We will miss her support and sage advice. We will cherish her memory and strive to be worthy successors to her, both as local politicians and as active, caring members of society.

“Redbridge Liberal Democrats send Richard and all of Maureen’s family our deepest sympathy at this sad time.”

Born and brought up in Woodford Green, Maureen attended Woodford County High School for Girls. After leaving Southampton University with an English BA, she joined a public relations firm in Chancery Lane that was owned by Paul Cave, who managed a number of showbiz clients including Frankie Vaughan, the King Brothers and a then unknown Barry Cryer.

A career in journalism followed, first as a sub-editor for a monthly women’s magazine and later as a freelance cookery editor. In later years, she worked as a travel sales consultant for a South Woodford-based tour operator specialising in the Canary Islands.

Alongside her career, Maureen pursued her political interests and was elected to the old Wanstead and Woodford Council in 1961 as a Liberal Party councillor. Her early achievements included successfully lobbying for the council to provide its first ever grant funding for a children’s playgroup association to help provide childcare for local families.

In 1962, she met Richard, a fellow Liberal Party activist, at a party conference. They married in 1963, and welcomed son Daniel in 1967 and daughter Melissa in 1970.

Politics and serving her community continued to be life-long passions, running local campaigns alongside Richard as well as supporting local causes and organisations. This included setting up a housing association providing homes for young families in the local area, serving as a school governor, and supporting local environmental causes.

In May 1986, Maureen was elected to represent Church End ward after years of local campaigning. She served as the sole Liberal Democrat member of Redbridge Council for four years, attending every committee and helping the residents of the South Woodford area she represented.

In 1990, she was joined by on the council by husband Richard and long-time ward campaigner Hugh Cleaver. In 1994, the group grew to nine councillors and Maureen became Liberal Democrat group leader on the council. She also served as Mayoress to husband Richard in 1996 before serving as the first female Liberal Democrat Mayor of the borough in 2000.

In 2006, after 20 years as a councillor, she stepped down, but continued to campaign locally alongside Richard, who remained on the council until 2014.

In recent years, following retirement from politics and local activism, Maureen and Richard have spent extensive time in Spain, but continued to take part in local activities back home.

Maureen died at home in South Woodford on Friday December 3, following a short illness. She is survived by her husband, Richard, son Daniel, daughter Melissa and three grandchildren, Tom, Olivia and Emilia.