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Joyce Bacchus MBE dies: Tributes paid to veteran Brent councillor, former mayor and Notting Hill Carnival organiser

PUBLISHED: 17:50 21 May 2019

Joyce Bacchus MBE

Joyce Bacchus MBE

Archant

Tributes have been paid to former Brent mayor and Labour politician Joyce Bacchus MBE, who has died aged 77.

Joyce Baccus MBE with pupils from Chalkhill Primary School, where she was a governor for  18 yearsJoyce Baccus MBE with pupils from Chalkhill Primary School, where she was a governor for 18 years

A "tireless advocate" for her constituents, Ms Bacchus was made MBE in 2000 for services to the community.

She died at Northwick Park Hospital on Tuesday morning after being ill for some time.

Flags are flying at half-mast at Brent Civic Centre today in honour of the "pioneering community leader".

Born in Guyana, she moved to England and started her career as a fashion model, before moving into a number of nursing roles and then into a career in the civil service.

Barry Gardiner MP, Joyce Bacchus MBE and Martin Francis, chair of governors at Chalkhill Primary SchoolBarry Gardiner MP, Joyce Bacchus MBE and Martin Francis, chair of governors at Chalkhill Primary School

The mother-of-one served 20 of her 24 years on the council representing Roundwood and Tokyngton wards. She became mayor of Brent in 2000.

Away from politics she was well-loved as the governor of Chalkhill Primary School for 18 years, standing down in 2015.

Current governor Martin Francis said she was "passionate about education" adding: "Joyce was a woman with a history and one that she was glad to share with others. She had been a vital force in the early days of the Notting Hill Carnival and one of the first black female magistrates.

"After her retirement as a governor she continued to keep in touch to check on the progress of the school and the wellbeing of the staff and children."

Joyce Bacchus with former Chalkhill Primary School headteacher Rose Ashton, where children said goodbye to the governor after 18 years of service. Picture: Jan NevillJoyce Bacchus with former Chalkhill Primary School headteacher Rose Ashton, where children said goodbye to the governor after 18 years of service. Picture: Jan Nevill

Cllr Ketan Sheth (Lab, Tokyngton) said she was a "tireless advocate" for constituents.

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"She showed me the ropes when I was first elected to Brent Council in 2010, and did the same for so many other colleagues," he said.

He added: "Joyce was a pioneering community leader. I greatly admired her. She was steely strong but never hard.

"She was totally Labour but never sectarian. Her judgement was sharp and commitment huge - to all the residents that she represented, and during her time as the mayor.

"I was lucky to call her a friend. She will be sorely missed."

Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt, Cllr Sheth's Tokyngton colleague, added: "Joyce was an exceptional person and an outstanding servant to the people of Brent.

"She was highly regarded across the political spectrum and made serving our community - in her role as a councillor, magistrate and school governor - her life's work, for which it was only right she was honoured with an MBE. I was proud to work with her in Tokyngton ward.

"Our thoughts are with her family at this very difficult time."

Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi, the mayor of Brent, said: "It was with great sadness that we received the news of Joyce's death this morning.

"Joyce set a wonderful example not only for her successors as mayor, but also for all of us in her dedication to public service and the many ways in which one person can make a difference.

"She will be sorely missed by everyone at the council and the communities she so tirelessly represented."

Share your memories of Joyce by emailing times.letters@archant.co.uk, and they could be featured in next week's Kilburn Times.

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