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Alice Kilroy obituary: Jeremy Corbyn leads tributes to effervescent peace campaigner and socialist who made beautiful banners

PUBLISHED: 18:17 18 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:54 19 February 2020

Alice Kilroy and Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Shirley Franklin

Alice Kilroy and Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Shirley Franklin

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An effervescent peace campaigner who made beautiful banners and dedicated her life to fighting for a better world hasd died, aged 68.

Alice Kilroy. Picture: Stephanie SutherlandAlice Kilroy. Picture: Stephanie Sutherland

Alice Kilroy, of Alexander Road in Upper Holloway, was a retired teacher and life-long social justice campaigner who died of cancer on Monday, February 17.

Alice's daughter, Stephanie Sutherland, paid tribute to her mother, saying: "She was very passionate. She was very loyal and kind.

"She didn't suffer fools gladly.

"She was very politically active.

Alice Kilroy and Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Shirley FranklinAlice Kilroy and Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Shirley Franklin

"She was a fantastic mum. She was everything to me.

"It has been overwhelming actually, the amount of love.

"Obviously I knew how much I loved her but I didn't know how loved she was by so many people. And I think she was overwhelmed when she was first diagnosed by the amount of people that came to her and told her how she had affected them."

Alice also worked in the national office at Stop the War and was active in its Islington group, as well as making costumes for Notting Hill Carnival.

She attended every Grenfell Silent Walk, to honour the 72 people who died in the tragic tower block blaze in June 2017.

Alice was an active member, and treasurer, for the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition campaign group - and she was a socialist who wanted to see her friend and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn installed in 10 Downing Street.

Mr Corbyn told the Gazette: "During the election campaign we had an NHS event outside the Whittington Hospital on a Monday morning and it wasn't the biggest event of the campaign but for me it was one of the most poignant because Alice, despite dying of cancer, wanted to come and came and stood in front of the Whittington banner.

"And we talked about the NHS and how important it was for the lives of all of us.

He continued: "We went to visit her in hospital, Laura and myself, before she moved to St Pancras Hospital for palliative care.

"She was really pleased to see us and concerned for other people in the hospital, concerned about the nurses and the cleaners and everyone else.

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"That was her, always concerned about others."

Mr Corbyn says he'd known Alice for years through their mutual involvement in Stop the War and the peace movement, and said she was also active in the Greek solidarity campaign when the European troika starting imposed austerity measures on the country in 2010.

Friends say she was also instrumental in organising the first protest against the USA's Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

The Labour leader added: "She turned into a fantastic banner maker and made a banner for Islington North Labour Party, which I'm proud to say had my name on it."

He praised Alice's political understanding and said it wasn't at all sectarian, and she would work with anyone to achieve goals like defending the Whittington Hospital and opposing the Iraq war.

"She lived in a council flat in Islington," Mr Corbyn said, "and she was very proud of that.

"She didn't try to buy it because she wanted her flat to be available for someone else when she passed on. [...]

"We lost a wonderful local figure and character, someone who inspired us all."

Shirley Franklin, who chairs the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition campaign group, for which Alice was treasurer, also paid tribute to her friend of 30 years.

Shirley said: "She was a warm, bubbly, terribly funny person. She was one of the best people and the world is a poorer place she leaves she leaves behind."

She added: "She made beautiful banners for just about every campaign going. The thing about Alice, she was very creative."

She continued: "She cared so much about the wrongs in society and it wasn't just that she cared, she did stuff about it.

"She was involved in a lot of campaigns for a better world."

Shirley added: "Stephanie has been the most daughter, and she has been so supportive of her mum.

"She has always been there for her and looked after her beautifully."

Alice leaves behind her siblings Catherine and Martin Kilroy, plus Stephanie and Stephanie's husband Stephen.


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