Obituary: Sudden death of ex-Labour councillor John Rolfe shocks family and friends

John Rolfe, ex-Labour councillor and chair of Swiss Cottage Community Association, has died aged 65

John Rolfe, ex-Labour councillor and chair of Swiss Cottage Community Association, has died aged 65 - Credit: Archant

John Rolfe, a much respected and admired former Labour councillor with a long career serving his community, has died aged 65.

Described as a man with “a powerful social conscience” the former Camden councillor made a huge impact on those he met as chairman of the Swiss Cottage Community Association.

He lived on the Hillgrove Estate in Swiss Cottage, where he was chairman of the Tenants and Residents Association and the Hampstead District Management Committee.

He served as a councillor for Priory ward from 1998 to 2002 and then for Kilburn ward from 2002 to 2006.

Before becoming a councillor Mr Rolfe had been a highly effective representative of the Hillgrove tenants association and as a councillor continued to help those in housing need.

His death on September 27 has stunned the local community.

His son, Jez, said: “It was very sudden and unexpected. The funeral will be very private, family only, but there is a memorial service for him in December.”

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Camden cabinet member and former council leader, Cllr Nash Ali, said: “He was a lovely guy, very passionate and very supportive to me as a new councillor when I joined in 2002.

“He had a unique, witty sense of humour.

“He’s done a lot of good for the people of Camden giving his time for their benefit, particularly in regards to housing.

“I was really shocked to hear of his sudden death. The party is feeling sad to lose a member. Our thoughts go out to his family.”

Mr Rolfe’s involvement in the Swiss Cottage Community Centre spanned more than 20 years and amongst his various roles he was treasurer in the 1990s, vice chairman from 2009, and chairman from 2012 until his death.

Cllr Don Williams, Conservative councillor for Swiss Cottage ward, said: “I am very saddened by his death. I saw him recently at a residents meeting and it’s a shock. I admired John a lot. It is a sad loss. We will miss him.”

The two men worked together on the Swiss Cottage Festival in 2009 and 2010.

Cllr Williams added: “We were colleagues. We could work across the political divide for the benefit of the community without any problems.

“He was a jovial person and I often shared a drink with him over those years. He was very good natured.”

Mr Rolfe died peacefully at home on the Isle of Wight, where he was born in 1947 and often took holidays,

A memorial service will be held at Swiss Cottage Community Centre on Saturday, December 7, at a time yet to be confirmed.