Tayo Oladapo: Headstone fundraiser launched to honour Kilburn councillor who died of sickle cell disease at 34

Cllr Tayo Oladapo, Labour councillor for Kilburn, died in January 2016. Picture: Brent Council

Cllr Tayo Oladapo, Labour councillor for Kilburn, died in January 2016. Picture: Brent Council - Credit: Archant

A sickle cell charity in Harlesden is raising money for a headstone for a former Labour councillor who died suddenly aged 34.

Temitayo “Tayo” Oladapo, who was elected to represent Kilburn ward in 2010, died on January 29 2016.

It took two months for Brent Labour to announce his death, which attracted controversy. An independent investigation cleared Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt of wrongdoing after he was accused of trying to hide it and stall a by-election.

The popular councillor was buried in the Paddington Old Cemetery by the Brent Labour group in June 2016.

Tayo suffered from sickle cell disease, a group of disorders affecting haemoglobin – the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body.

The Sickle Cell Society (SCS), in Station Road, now aims to pay for a headstone to mark his grave, with the help of Co-op Funeralcare Cricklewood, and will use surplus donations to help other sufferers.

SCS chief exec John James said: “We were deeply saddened when we heard about the death of Tayo Oladapo two years ago.

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“We commemorate Tayo as an excellent example of someone holding public office while living with sickle cell disorder.

“The fundraiser serves to help mark his grave for his family and other loved ones as well as remember Tayo and help inspire other people living with sickle cell disorder to be aspirational.”

Former Kilburn councillor Mary Arnold said: “Tayo was a popular councillor fighting energetically for local causes for over five years.

“He is best known for supporting youth, preventing criminal pathways and getting the Kilburn High Road cleaned up.

“Tayo’s eventual employment in the Immigration Service was further testament to his strong values for fairness and determination to overcome injustices.”

Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi, who helped with Tayo’s funeral arrangements after speaking to Tayo’s family, said: “We are both Nigerian and we did a lot of work in Kilburn together about gang-related issues and engaging with the youth.

“We do not want to see him tossed away and, if we do not have a headstone, then in five or 10 years we will not know where he is buried.”

Readers can donate to the fund at the SCS fundraising page.

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