Tribute to former councillor John Lock

29 November 2016 in Council and democracy
Mayor Sir Robin Wales has paid tribute to former Newham councillor and honorary freeman of the borough John Lock who died on Monday (28 November) after illness.
John Lock and family
John, 62, had lived in Newham since 1979. He was elected by residents to represent them in the former Park Ward from 1986 to 1994. During that time he led a major redevelopment programme of leisure services and libraries. He was conferred with Freedom of the Borough at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council in October.

Sir Robin said: “Thanks to John, our borough is a much better place than it was when he first arrived. He was a good man who worked tirelessly to improve the health and lives of residents. If anyone deserved to have the freedom of Newham for long and distinguished public service, then it was John. He will be much missed. On behalf of councillors, council staff, residents, and all those who had the pleasure of knowing him, I have offered our condolences to John’s wife Jan and sons Nathaniel and Cato.”

Flags at both East Ham and Stratford Town Halls were lowered and a full tribute to John will be made at the next meeting of the full Council.

Councillor Conor McAuley added: “In all the fields in which John worked, he brought a quiet determination to bear on the issues. He didn’t make enemies or hector people. He worked through persuasion and intelligent argument.”

Among the many council committees on which John served were policy and resources, the Budget Working Group, education, police and community safety, race equality, community affairs, and leisure services, which he chaired for many years.

He represented Newham on the Association of London Authorities, the Local Government Information Unit and the Greater London Arts Council, amongst many others.

As well as local government, John had more than 30 years experience in the fields of health, education, arts, urban regeneration, sport, technology, third sector, social enterprise, volunteering, and business development. He served as a school governor for more than 22 years and in 2007 was awarded the Department for Education and Skills Governor of the Year for the London region. He was also constituency office manager and researcher for the late Newham North West MP Tony Banks.

After leaving the council he led the University of East London’s engagement with the 2012 Games and legacy. He reshaped their volunteering programme and transformed their approach to sport.

He played a huge part in gaining funding for the first phase of UEL’s iconic Docklands campus and then subsequent phases including the Knowledge Dock and Sports Dock. Latterly he led the transition of the council’s managed leisure services department into the independent trust activeNewham.

In regeneration, John was a founder member of the Stratford Renaissance Partnership which has spearheaded promotion internationally of Stratford as one of London’s main investment destinations. He was instrumental in the creation of Stratford’s cultural quarter, now home to Birkbeck University and UEL. He was the principal promoter of development of Stratford Circus performing arts centre and he served for ten years as a director of Theatre Royal Stratford East.

At Newham Primary Care Trust he worked to transition their services to deal with health challenges strategically rather than reactively. He defined the concept of community ownership of health. He chaired the board of the Sir Ludwig Guttman Health and Wellbeing Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and ensured that there was a significant academic component to its work. In 2014 he was made an Honorary Member of the Faculty of Public Health.