Leila Roy tributes: 'We will miss her energy and her big heart'
- Credit: Polly Hancock
Tributes have been paid to activist and former councillor Leila Roy, who died on Friday.
A hugely popular figure in the community, Ms Roy served as a Conservative councillor in Camden's Belsize ward from 2014-18.
She was an outspoken critic of the council's Labour leadership over its handling of the Chalcots Estate evacuation, and narrowly missed out on re-election in 2018.
Cllr Oliver Cooper, current leader of the Conservative group, tweeted on Saturday (February 27): "Leila threw herself into everything she did. Helping Belsize and Chalcots residents. Supporting democracy in Africa. Raising the most brilliant and caring son. Ensuring thousands received remote lessons last summer.
"A force of nature who will be sorely missed by so many. RIP."
Born in France, Ms Roy moved to London to study journalism at Middlesex University.
She raised a son, Anton, as a singe parent and became a well-known community champion, working on many local causes.
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Friend and Belsize campaigner Linda Grove said: "You didn’t have to say her surname, everyone knew who you were talking about, just Leila.
"I first met Leila 12 years ago on the corner of Haverstock Hill and Prince of Wales Road. Once met, never forgotten. There she was with little Anton, her son, joining the march with the Belsize parents to Brecknock School, where Camden expected our four-year-old children to walk to school. This was the start of the Abacus campaign.
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"Leila was all ready to campaign for what she felt strongly about and helped an awful lot of folk out in bad situations."
Former Ham&High editor Emily Banks said: "Leila was a beautiful soul and passionate champion of the community.
"I loved chatting to her over coffee where she would fill me in on all the local gossip and campaigns and talk proudly about her son Anton.
"When the community needed her, Leila would be the first to arrive and last to leave.”
There has been an outpouring of tributes to Ms Roy on social media.
Claire-Louise Vaculik, who was leader of the Conservative group when Leila was on the council, tweeted: "Thinking of you @Leila_Roy. You brought such passion & energy to every single thing you did, regardless of how it hard it was for you. An amazing mum, caring friend, caretaker of bees, chickens & bountiful crops of veggies, a tireless campaigner and above all, such a good person."
Current Belsize councillor Luisa Porritt (Lib Dem) wrote: "Very sad to read this news. I know how well respected she was in the local community, especially by residents living on the Chalcots Estate. Thinking of all Leila's friends and family at this incredibly difficult time."