Comrades' last salute for campaigner Rose

FRIENDS, family and former colleagues of the lifelong political campaigner turned newspaper columnist Rose Hacker said farewell to the Highgate centenarian this week

Marc Mullen

FRIENDS, family and former colleagues of the lifelong political campaigner turned newspaper columnist Rose Hacker said farewell to the Highgate centenarian this week.

At a moving service at Golders Green crematorium on Monday the life president of the Highgate Labour branch, former Highgate councillor and Camden's representative on the Greater London Council (GLC) was laid to rest.

Mrs Hacker, who was just one month short of her 102nd birthday, died last Monday after suffering a debilitating stroke on January 19.

The humanist/Jewish service was conducted by Rabbi Marcia Plumb, and broadcaster Rabbi Lionel Blue gave a heartfelt oration in honour of the tireless campaigner.

Her son, architect Michael Hacker OBE, who lives in Muswell Hill, said: "The service was very much what Rose would have wanted, with music poems and readings.

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"She was an atheist, but acknowledged her Jewish connections. There was a large attendance of relatives, friends and old colleagues from her various activities.

"She had her own life and she was quite an inspiration to me and my brother."

Former colleague and neighbour John Thane said: "Rose was a model for growing old. She always looked forward, tackled new things and made a priority her concern for the world around her.

"She grew frustrated by the Labour government, which unlike her lost its way or any burning sense of injustice.

"Her mind was always looking forward. She had none of that old fond remembrance and nostalgia for the past. She didn't wallow in the past. She was quite a remarkable woman. She was a lovely woman."

Born Rose Goldbloom in Great Portland Street Hospital on March 3, 1906, she grew up in Shoot Up Hill, Kilburn, taking regular walks on Hampstead Heath with her father.

After the war she received a defence medal for her tireless war work - delivering supplies to the home guard. In 1951, she returned to her spiritual home of Highgate.

Later she joined the Marriage Guidance Council and became one of Britain's first sex therapists and the author of several books on teenage sexuality.

She swam at Hampstead Heath ladies' pond until her late 90s and then took up Tai Chi.

But at the age of 100 she became an overnight sensation with her feisty political column in the Camden New Journal (CNJ).

Camden councillor Roger Robinson, who knew her for 40 years, paid tribute to his former "comrade".

He said: "Rose was a wonderful worker for the community in St Pancras and later Camden, founding the Mark and Rose Hacker mental health drop-in in Kentish Town with her late husband, Mark.

"She was an assiduous writer of numerous books and, of course, the oldest writer of articles at 101, writing with her marvellous humour and understanding of life and people.

"She was someone who had seen the world and its troubles and was determined to fight to change this lousy world even into her very old age.

"She will be missed by all of her friends and her family to whom we send our sincere condolences - our thoughts are with them."

Her ashes will be scattered at Golders Green cemetery, where her husband's ashes lie. She is survived by her sons Michael, 71, Lawrence, 74, her grandsons Daniel and Jacob and great granddaughters Aurora and Mercy.