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Former Gravesham mayor and devoted public servant Anne Murray, passes away

A former mayor known for putting the issues of others first, has died.

Anne Murray, 85, was a dedicated public servant and enjoyed a successful career professionally and politically, which included becoming mayor of Gravesham in 1995.

She sadly passed away from a chest infection after suffering from dementia, last Friday.

Lady Murray was made mayor of Gravesham in 1995
Lady Murray was made mayor of Gravesham in 1995

Lady Murray, formerly of Parrock Road, Gravesend, was originally from Crayford, attending Dartford Grammar School for Girls, before heading into politics.

She joined the Labour party in 1950 and it was at a party conference in 1959 that she would meet Albert Murray, her future husband.

Mr Murray was also involved in politics and won the Gravesend seat in the 1964 general election.

He was the town’s MP for six years and was later made Baron Murray of Gravesend, earning his wife, who served as his unpaid secretary during all of his time in office, the title of Lady Murray.

Lady Murray had a political career in London as well as Kent and served as a councillor in Lambeth from 1958 to 1965.

Aside from politics she was involved in many other groups in the community including Gravesend branches of the NSPCC, the National Association of Widows and the Royal British Legion.

Lady Murray was also chair of Gravesham’s Community Relations Council for more than 10 years, working closing with ethnic minority groups in the area.

Kate Murray, said that her mother often conveyed to her family the importance of respecting the cultures of others.

She said: “She instilled in us a great respect for others and tolerance and sense of social justice. She took what she did very seriously.

"She was involved in so many different organisations and so many committees.

"It was very different from nowadays where you hear about politicians in it for the expenses. The position was unpaid.”

Lady Murray speaks to former Prime Minister Harold Wilson with her daughter Kate and husband Albert
Lady Murray speaks to former Prime Minister Harold Wilson with her daughter Kate and husband Albert

Gravesham council leader, Cllr John Burden said that Lady Murray’s death is sad not just for those on the area’s political scene, but for the borough as a whole.

He said: “Anne, to all of those who knew her, will be a great loss.

“She worked for many years to bring community cohesion in Gravesham and worked very hard for all the different communities with her husband, Albert.

“She was a lifelong socialist who believed in fairness and was also a member of the council for a very long time. She always put her people first.

“It’s sad when those who work and help others do eventually go and it’s a great loss to her friends and family.”

Lady Murray was just as dedicated in her professional life and it was fitting that her job was also about providing help to those who needed it.

Joining in 1972, she went on to work for Gravesend Churches Housing Association for 21 years, providing hundreds of people with affordable homes over her tenure.

Her concern for the housing issues of others continued after her retirement and she chaired the House of Mercy hostel for the homeless, Soroptimist Housing and worked as an honorary clerk for Knights Almshouses in Northfleet.

Lady Murray also helped found the Co-operative Friends of Jamaica and served as a magistrate.

While it might be hard to see how she found the time to serve another organisation, Lady Murray supported local football in the area and was a one-time president of the North Kent Sunday League (NKSL).

Current general secretary of the NKSL, Ian Kerwood, 71, said he was sad to hear of her passing.

He said: “She was keen on local football and used to come to our President’s Cup Final where she would present the trophy.

“Her husband, Albert, had donated the trophy when he was president of the league.

"She used to come to our other cup finals as well, she was a great servant to local football.”

Anne Murray is survived by her children, Tim and Kate and her four grandchildren, Milo, Albie, Cicely and Lydia.

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