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Tributes to former mayor of Islington Mary Powell who died age 90

PUBLISHED: 08:57 04 October 2014

Mary Powell Pictured with members of the Ex London Boxers Association. Picture by Dieter Perry

Mary Powell Pictured with members of the Ex London Boxers Association. Picture by Dieter Perry

Archant

The friends and family of a former mayor of Islington have been paying their tributes following her death last month.

Mary Powell passed away just a few days after her 90th birthday at the Bridgeside Lodge Nursing Home on Wharf Street, just a stone’s throw away from her shop and home in St Peter’s Street, Islington.

The Italian barber’s daughter lived in Islington her entire life and leaves behind her three sons, seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Her oldest son, Stephen, 66, said: “She made everybody she came in contact with feel special and she did it without even knowing.

“When she was a councillor she would invite people into the little kitchen in her shop where they could have a sit down and a cup of tea and a chat.

“She was Islington through and through and always tried to keep the people of the borough together.”

In 1984, at the age of 60, Mary stood for election to become a councillor for Islington and was elected as the first ever Lib Dem mayor for the borough in 2000.

Former reporter on the Gazette, Chris Kempson, said: “She had a quick wit and was always helpful to me and had a full understanding of the way the press worked - even if she didn’t always agree with what you said or wrote.

“She was a wonderful lady and did much good for the whole community of Islington.”

As well as being known for her many civic duties, Mary was also very popular on the boxing scene through her late husband Jack, who helped her become the secretary of the London Ex-Boxers’ Association (LEBA) where she worked for many years from 1971.

Mary, along with the founder of the Angel Amateur Boxing Club (ABC) John Jacobs, was instrumental in bringing amateur boxing back into the borough following a decade-long banishment by the Labour councils of the 1980s and 1990s.

She became president of the Angel ABC and Chris Kempson added: “If you were the professional heavyweight champion of the world attending a LEBA function or a young and nervous rookie at the Angel ABC preparing in the gym for your first ever amateur bout, she looked upon you with equal kindness and admiration. She really was that special.”

Mary’s funeral will take place at St John’s Church, 39 Duncan Terrace, Islington, at 1pm on October 2.

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