By Chuka Umunna MP
It is with great shock and sadness that I learnt of the death of our Mayor, my constituent and dear friend, Cllr Mark Bennett. I cannot believe that he has been taken from us and, at 43, at such a young age. His passing is a huge loss for our community, which he had taken to his heart and loved so much.
Mark was a kind and lovely guy with great intelligence, wit and insight. Devoted to Lambeth, he not only served as our current Mayor but as councillor of his ward of Streatham South, after winning the by-election there in 2005. His blog is testament to this, containing lots of historical factoids and interesting stories about our area that we never knew. He was a conscientious and dedicated councillor – I have fond memories of doing Street stalls with him and canvassing the roads in Streatham Vale. He also served on Lambeth’s Council’s cabinet from 2006 to 2010 as cabinet member for Community Safety and then Culture.
Mark was Labour through and through. Every fabric of his being stayed true to the social democratic values of our party. He was a champion of social justice not only locally but nationally too in Tony Blair’s 10 Downing Street operation working in the Communications Team under Alistair Campbell, whose diaries he co-edited.
There is so much to say – words cannot do Mark justice. It seems like only yesterday that he gave such a wonderful and moving eulogy at the Memorial Service to the late Cllr Ruth Ling, one of our councillors in Tulse Hill, over the summer. I cannot believe that Mark has now left us too. He was so generous and such a support to all of us. May you rest in peace Mark and thank you for being a shining light in our community. We will so miss you and our love, thoughts and prayers are with your family at this incredibly difficult time.
Chuka Umunna MP
Member of Parliament for Streatham
covering Streatham and parts of Clapham, Balham, Tulse Hill and Brixton
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation &Skills