‘Lifeblood’ of Highgate estate and friend to MP Oliver Letwin dies aged 87

A former chairman of the Hampstead Conservatives who helped run a successful election campaign for political heavyweight Oliver Letwin and was the “lifeblood” of the Holly Lodge Estate in Highgate has died, aged 87.

Former Highgate School pupil Roland Walker was a loyal and hard-working campaigner for the Conservative party, serving as a councillor on the old St Pancras Borough Council between 1956 and 1974.

After stepping down he went on to become chairman of the local Conservative Party and helped Tory policy guru Mr Letwin defeat Labour candidate Glenda Jackson, the current MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, by a narrow margin at the 1992 general election.

Mr Letwin said: “He followed the formidable and delightful Marian Harrison. I was rather worried whether he could match her verve and energy. I needn’t have worried.

“In his calm and charming way, Roland organised everything perfectly.

‘‘He had an exceptional ability to infuse others with his particular mixture of good humour and optimism. He was a truly lovely man.”

In his retirement from politics, Mr Walker served as secretary on the Holly Lodge Estate Committee and also the Holly Lodge Conservation Area Advisory Committee.

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A chartered accountant by trade, Mr Walker moved there when he was four months old and was the “lifeblood” of the private estate for many years.

Derrick Knight, who sat on the committee with friend Mr Walker for many years, said: “Quite honestly he has done more for the estate than any other single person, having been brought up on the estate.

“He knew more about it and the people who lived there than anyone else – he could have written a book about it, something I often suggested. He was the lifeblood of the estate.”

He is survived by widow Elizabeth and daughter Charlotte. He also had two grandchildren.