Greta Karpin

Greta Karpin

Tributes have been paid to Greta Karpin, who has died of a heart attack aged 80.

She was a trade unionist and long standing stalwart of the local branch of the Labour Party.

Mrs Karpin, who grew up in the East End in the 1930s and 1940s, who was described by Hackney councillor Luke Akehurst as the “life and soul” of the Hackney Labour Party and is reputed to have been the longest serving Labour Party secretary in history.

Mrs Karpin found a political soulmate in her husband Bert, a fellow East Ender, lifelong left-winger and anti-fascist veteran of the Battle of Cable Street.

He passed away last year.

As secretary of Hackney North and Stoke Newington Constituency Labour Party and the Hackney Borough Local Campaign Forum, Mrs Karpin was an influential political player in the borough for decades – and her ability to make or break political careers inevitably led to her being disliked by some.

She had been involved in politics for most of her life and once had the privilege of addressing a Labour Party Conference when she was aged just 25.

The party’s then leader Harold Wilson could apparently be seen listening intently to every word she said.

In her free time Mrs Karpin was a foodie, gardener and pet lover, according to London Assembly Member Jennette Arnold, who wrote in a blog post: “Greta was always someone you wanted to spend time with.

“The conversation was always fresh and challenging… Her thirst for knowledge, and, it has to be said, gossip, was always unquenched.”

Her funeral will take place on 28 September and a large turnout is expected.

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