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Education stalwart remembered as Mayor of Newham leads tributes to former councillor Graham Lane – Newham Council


On behalf of everyone at Newham Council, Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz OBE has offered deepest condolences to the widow, family and friends of former councillor Graham Lane who died on Thursday 25 March 2024.

Graham Lane served as a Newham councillor for 24 years from 1986-2010, having been elected as a Labour councillor for former Hudson ward between 1986 to 2002; and Plaistow South ward in the West Ham parliamentary constituency between 2002-2010. He served as a member of the Social Housing Committee and the chair of the Education Committee at the Council, in addition as the Labour Chair of the Education Committee of the Local Government Association where he also led the statutory National Employers for Teachers body.

Mayor Fiaz said: “Graham was a dedicated Labour councillor resolutely committed to improving the opportunities and outcomes for all Newham residents, particularly our children and young people. His passion for education and youth services in our borough has been an inspiration, and we continue his legacy through our enduring commitment to make Newham the best place for children and young people to realise their ambitions and achieve their potential.

“He started his career as an inspiring teacher at Little Ilford Secondary School, and during his time on the Council was instrumental in establishing the Newham Sixth Form College in Plaistow. His focused commitment to improve the outcomes and life chances for all children and young people in Newham extended to a passionate advocacy at national level. He was instrumental in the introduction of Educational Maintenance Grants for 16-19 year-olds so that those from non-traditional and working class backgrounds could access further and higher education.

“It is this legacy of honourable, honest and ethical public service that will be cherished by all who were so privileged in knowing Graham. My thoughts and prayers to his beloved wife Isabel, and his family and friends who will forever love him at this saddest of times.”

Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, Councillor Neil Wilson, said: “I was privileged to know and work alongside Graham in political circles for over 40 years. Throughout that time his commitment to the young people of the borough, and nationally, both in education and youth services, inspired me and many others in our involvement as councillors, governors and officers.  He was a very active councillor in Plaistow, who served his constituents well, and was always diligent and conscientious in all aspects of his council work.”

During his time as a Councillor in Newham, Graham played a major role in the development of community and inclusive education; alongside forging productive and positive working relations between school governors, teachers and the Council. As a member of the Newham Music Trust, Graham promoted the development of music enrichment services for children and young people across the schools in the borough; and was a member of the Plaistow Community Forum advocating strongly in the interests of local residents.

In 2013, Graham published the notable book ‘How different Governments have weakened Local Government and Democracy’, reflecting on his experience as a councillor.

He was also a board member of the National Youth Agency; the Open University Council; the National Institute of Adult Education; the European Lifelong Learning Commission; the Institute for Education Business Excellence; Partnership for Young London; the Young People Now Foundation; the National Learning and Work Institute; and Youth Access.

Newham Councillors will be paying tribute to former councillor Graham Lane at the Annual Council Meeting on 23 May 2024 taking place from 7.00pm at the Old Town Hall Stratford.

Graham Lane’s funeral will be held on Friday 26 April at 11am, at Manor Park Crematorium, Sebert Road, E7 0NP. At the family’s request, donations instead of flowers would be kindly received for the Alzheimer’s Society, c/o Co-op Funeralcare, 148 North Street, Romford RM1 1DL.

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