Former Mayor of Hackney Linda Hibberd passed away peacefully on Christmas Day with her family at her side.
Born in Hackney in 1947, Linda was a member of the well-known Owen family who made a memorable contribution to the community of Hackney Central and Clapton.
Linda was elected as a Labour councillor to Hackney Council in 1974 at the same time as her parents, Bob and Tilly Owen, representing Hackney Central Downs and then Eastdown wards for 24 years.
Her priority as a councillor was tenants’ welfare and the improvement of the public housing service, and she was a well-known figure amongst the residents of the Nightingale Estate and Gooch House.
After a period as Deputy Mayor, Linda was elected Mayor of Hackney in 1996 under controversial circumstances.
At the time, the council was in chaos over allegations that some members had been involved in a cover-up of child abuse by a social services worker and Labour party activist Mark Trotter.
It became known as the ‘Trottergate’ affair, and it caused 17 Labour council members to split from their party to form the Hackney New Labour group, following the national Labour Party’s refusal to set up an enquiry into the scandal.
A 1996 report from Steve Boggan in the Independent details how members of the New Labour Group defied the Chief Whip and voted in Linda Hibberd as Mayor, after Council leader Nick Tallentire wrongly linked her to a fraud inquiry.
Linda later moved to move to Basildon with her husband Barrie, but maintained her involvement in tenants’ welfare through co-opted membership of the Clapton Residents’ Panel.
At the same time she devoted much of her time to voluntary work at Basildon Hospital.
Paying tribute to her memory, long-serving former Hackney councillors Shuja Shaikh and Ken Hanson said, “Linda was completely dedicated to the service of the people. She was a hard-working, honest and sincere representative of the local community who devoted a large part of her life to Hackney and its residents.”
Her funeral took place on Thursday 16 January 2015 at Basildon Crematorium./ 21 January, 2015