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Tributes to former Town Hall leader who touched the lives of many

Friends and family gather to remember a man who was ‘dedicated to Islington’

22 November, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

Baroness Sarah Ludford and James Kempton at the memorial service for Steve Hitchins

A FORMER leader of Islington Council was fondly recalled at a memorial service yesterday (Thursday), as his old colleagues remembered a man who had “touched the lives of many”.

Steve Hitchins, who had once led the Liberal Democrats in Islington and served as a chairman at the Whittington Hospital, died from a suspected heart attack in September aged 68.

Friends and family gathered for a full house at St Mary’s Church in Upper Street to remember Mr Hitchins. He had been ward councillor for St Peter’s for 16 years from 1990.

His wife, Baroness Sarah Ludford, who is a Lib Dem peer and a former Clerkenwell councillor, met Mr Hitchins 45 years ago when they were university students.

Steve Hitchins

She said: “What kept us together was our shared values. Steve was a man of principle and determination of the personal, political and professional. He was dedicated to Islington and London in general.”

Baroness Ludford read a selection of poems by TS Elliot to those who gathered at St Mary’s Islington in tribute to her husband.

Mr Hitchins, who lived in St Peters Street, led Islington Council from 1999 to 2006 during the height of Lib Dem power when they held a majority over the Labour Party.

He was chairman of Whittington Health Trust for six years.

James Kempton, the leader of the Islington Lib Dems in 2006, first met Mr Hitchins 30 years ago.

He told the Tribune: “He brought all sorts of people not into politics, into politics. He was often digging all sorts of people out of scrapes. He touched the lives of many.”

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