I am sorry to hear the sad news of the passing of my good friend and former Islington Councillor Lorraine Constantinou.
It was a pleasure to stand for election to Islington Council with Lorraine Constantinou in 2010, and a privilege to serve with her in elected office for the next four years, representing the people of Hillrise ward.
Although I was standing for re-election and Lorraine was a “new” candidate, it was no surprise to me that she secured more votes- an astonishing 2073 votes!
Lorraine was already a popular and respected figure in Hillrise, where she worked for a Tenants Management Organisation (TMO) on the Elthorne estate where she lived and raised her family for 40 years- from it’s inception in fact.
Born in Dublin, a proud Irish-woman married to her beloved husband from Cyprus , and already a grandmother by the time of her election, it was no surprise that Lorraine was a no-nonsense figure, a community champion who was not afraid to speak her mind, and who got things done.
PUTTING ON THE HEAT
I first met Lorraine in 2009 when she fought for residents who had been left without heating on the estate.
She organised a petition, and joined me in taking the fight directly to the contractors (EPS Energy) who felt the full heat from Lorraine that their incompetence was denying residents.
Needless to say the matter was quickly resolved.
Lorraine stepped up to fight for Islington Boxing club, securing funding to help them install showers and changing rooms for females- the launch-pad for what grew into the impressive and successful facilities for women and girls at the club. http://www.thecnj.com/camden_review/news/2010/feb/red-corner-–-women-step-ring-islington-boxing-club
IBC Club CEO Lennie Hagland said “the club send our condolences to Lorraine’s family. As local councillor, she helped support this club when we were on the ropes financially. Everyone knew Lorraine as a fighter, but always punching up, and never below the belt. May she rest in peace”
Lorraine always spoke her mind, and as Peter Gruner (Islington Tribune) reported after he interviewed Lorraine after her election, she was willing to publicly criticise her “own side” (Liberal democrats) as well as opposing Labour.
“She is currently battling with her own party at Coalition government level over increased tuition fees and the lack of security of tenure which new council tenants will have. But she is also fighting Labour-controlled Islington Council over the lack of improvements on the Elthorne estate, in Archway, where she lives and works”
Full interview here: http://www.thecnj.com/camden_review/comment/reply/7704
Lorraine was fiercely proud of the tight-knit community on the estate where she both lived and worked. She was outraged when the Labour Islington council dismissed the estate by running it down in 2012. Lorraine said: “I have lived and worked on the Elthorne over 33 years and cannot believe that we have been described effectively as a ‘sink estate’. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s offensive. The council press release is misleading and unfortunate considering the already outstanding resident participation on the Elthorne” https://www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/crime/21243130.tenants-archway-furious-sink-estate-slur-council/
SAVE THE SLIDE! AND OTHER CAMPAIGNS
Lorraine was a supporter of Elthorne Park, funded a project on the New Orleans Estate, and backed a campaign to save a popular children’s slide on the Miranda estate that Islington Labour wanted to rip out. ( http://www.gregfoxsmith.co.uk/guest-blog-by-adam-foxsmith/ ) She said “It has got so much character, and it’s the thing that I see kids using and enjoying most when they come to the park. If it goes, the park will lose some of that character” https://islingtonnow.co.uk/save-the-archway-slide-campaign/
Lorraine was a supporter of Sunnyside Community Gardens, and assisted the trustees
She helped secure them a grant of £1500, and after their original building was destroyed in a fire, and was supportive in fundraising for a replacement.
SAVE THE WHITTINGTON
Lorraine passed away peacefully in the Whittington hospital, surrounded by her loving family.
That venue seems appropriate as I remember Lorraine campaigning to save the hospital back in 2013, when it was under threat of closure.
I was fortunate to be able to visit Lorraine at the hospital, where she still had a twinkle in her eye.
A fighter to the very end, Lorraine will be greatly missed.
My condolences to her family.
Lorraine will not be forgotten.
Lorraine Constantinou, 1945-2023.