Selfless and brilliant: Tributes flow for Roy Shaw

PUBLISHED: 16:39 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:40 07 September 2010

CAMDEN'S longest serving councillor has died at the age of 83. Roy Shaw OBE served for an unparalleled 51 years before stepping down from Haverstock ward in June because of ill health

Katie Davies

CAMDEN'S longest serving councillor has died at the age of 83.

Roy Shaw OBE served for an unparalleled 51 years before stepping down from Haverstock ward in June because of ill health.

Mr Shaw, who was also well known nationally as a local government expert, died on Friday.

Camden's Labour leader Anna Stewart said: "Roy was a real ambassador for local government.

"First and foremost a public servant, he was also a Camden man through and through, representing the area in which he lived for more than 50 years.

"There are countless local residents for whom Roy's intervention made a real and lasting difference to their lives. He will be sadly missed."

Mr Shaw stood out from birth - the only brother to five sisters in his family home in West Hampstead.

He attended Emmanuel infants' school, Beckford junior and then won a scholarship to William Ellis, which was then a grammar school.

A rising academic star, Mr Shaw's ambitions were thwarted when his father's sudden death ended the possibility of further education. He left school at 16 to work as a clerk with tobacconist WD & HO Wills.

The politician only moved away from Camden once in his life for army service from 1943 to 1952. Many of his colleagues said his experience of war gave him the desire to help others and led him into politics.

In 1952 he went to live in Kentish Town where he became secretary to the Hampstead Labour Party. He was first elected to the Metropolitan Borough of Hampstead in 1956, then to St Pancras Council in 1962, before the borough of Camden was formed.

Cllr Shaw continued to serve until illness forced him to step down last year. He was awarded an OBE for his work in setting up the Audit Committee.

And last year in a moving ceremony at Camden Town Hall he was awarded the title of Honorary Alderman. Former Camden Council colleagues Tessa Jowell, Frank Dobson and Ken Livingstone all made speeches about him at the event.

Dame Jane Roberts, former Labour party and council leader, this week paid tribute to his personal and professional charisma.

"He never married so was well known for his eye for the ladies and did have a really mischievous sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye. He was very protective of me because when I first got elected I was pregnant and I remember him with a big bunch of flowers when I had my first son.

"He stayed protective when I was leader and was actually like that for every new councillor. He was good fun and won tremendous respect from all the political parties and nationally for his knowledge of local government finance which few people really understand. Roy dedicated his life to the local community and local government."

Former Camden Council colleague Ken Livingstone, spoke of his respect of Councillor Shaw.

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Roy Shaw. I knew him for over 25 years and it was clear then that Camden was an essential part of Roy's DNA.

"Roy's mischievous humour was a great asset as was his wise and formidable political brain. I remember he was able to defuse the most volatile meeting with a quick quip that would disarm even the most strident political opponent."

He is survived by his one remaining sister, Pam.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express