Tribute to honorary Alderman James Riley
Published by yemisi for London Borough Of Newham - Head Office in Communities and also in Local Government
Newham Council has heard the sad news that honorary alderman and former councillor James Riley passed away in hospital on November 18.
James, 85, also known as Jim, originally served on the former West Ham Council and then Newham Council representing Stratford Ward. He retired from the council in 2002 and received the award of honorary alderman a year later.
A funeral mass takes place at 12.15pm on Tuesday (9 December) at St Francis Church, The Grove, Stratford, and then at the East London Cemetery. Mayor Sir Robin Wales, on behalf of the borough, is sending condolences to his family.
Said the Mayor: “Jim fought passionately on behalf of his constituents and was well respected by those he represented.
“He took an interest in all areas of the council and was a valued and consistent performer. He was commonly known as a ‘safe pair of hands’ who could be relied upon to preside over initiatives and programmes that saw Newham change for the better.
“I and everybody at Newham Council offer our condolences to his family and friends and our thoughts are with them at this time.”
Jim was a member of the County Borough of West Ham for eight years before serving with Newham Council for almost 30 years. He was very active in the trade union movement.
Born in West Ham in 1923, Jim spent all his life in the Newham. His passion for politics began after he experienced the wider world during the Second World War.
He trained as an ARP Warden and was called up at the age of 19. The borough of West Ham experienced severe damage during The Blitz with few streets escaping some form of damage. Around this time, Jim entered politics and was heavily involved in the reconstruction of the area.
An intensive housing programme started which effectively created a whole new town within East London. Jim took a great interest in the emergence of the new society at this time.
He joined the Labour Party in the late 1940s and joined West Ham Council two years later. When Newham Council was formed he represented the ward of Stratford. A tower block in Carpenters Road,
Stratford, was named after him.