Search

Sad loss of gentle giant’ Brian—cabbie turned lecturer, politician

PUBLISHED: 22:15 19 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:38 05 October 2010

Brian... lost eight-year battle against leukaemia

Brian... lost eight-year battle against leukaemia

TRIBUTES have been paid to East London’s gentle giant’ politician Brian Son, ex-councilor and Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets who died last Wednesday. He was 56. The former taxi-driver who became a college business lecturer was well known in London’s East End, where he was a councilor for eight years. He fought a long battle with leukaemia and passed away peacefully at Bart’s Hospital in the City

TRIBUTES have been paid to East London’s gentle giant’ politician Brian Son, ex-councilor and Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets who died last Wednesday. He was 56.

The former taxi-driver who became a college business lecturer was well known in London’s East End, especially in Poplar and the Isle of Dogs where he was a councilor for eight years.

Brian fought a long battle with Leukemia and passed away peacefully at Bart’s Hospital in the City of London.

He leaves a widow, Julia Mainwaring, who was herself a former Labour leader of Tower Hamlets Council, his son Alan, daughter-in-law Alicia and step-daughter Anna.

Junior Government minister Jim Fitzpatrick, the Poplar & Canning Town MP, worked closely with him in the Labour Party.

Brian Son was born and brought up in Walthamstow, the youngest son of a large Jewish family. He started his working life as a printer, before becoming a taxi-driver and moving to the East End.

He met his wife Julia when they were both doing voluntary work at The Rights Shop in Bethnal Green more than 20 years ago.

Brian decided in his thirties to go back to college to get a degree and eventually became a business lecturer at Newham College.

But his real love was East London’s community politics.

He won a seat on Tower Hamlets council in 1998, representing East India & Lansbury ward and later Blackwall & Cubitt Town ward, and became Deputy Mayor in 2005.

“Brian loved being a councilor,” said his wife Julia. “He tried really hard to help people and enjoyed every minute of it.

He was 6ft 3ins tall and had a big, booming voice.

“But everyone used to describe him as a gentle giant’.”

Julia added: “Brian, with his Jewish origins, got on well with people from all walks of life, many of his friends being Muslim.

“He even visited Bangladesh to gain an understanding of the country where many families in his constituency come from. His mates included cab drivers, lecturers, housewives and MPs.”

Brian remained always cheerful and chatty—even though he spent eight years struggling with chemotherapy.

His step-daughter Anna Mainwearing, a BBC journalist and former reporter on the East London Advertiser, said: “I will remember Brian in his favourite place—on the sofa eating a salmon and cream cheese bagel with his dog Patch on his lap, shouting at the TV because West Ham were losing, or occasionally winning.”

Brian’s funeral is at City of London Cemetery in Manor Park in East London on Friday (September 26) at 12 noon. The family asks any donations to be made to the Leukemia Research Foundation.

Latest East London News Stories

12:00

A traditional rural theatre of ancient Bengal that uses hunting for story-telling through folk opera and dance in a theatrical setting comes to Bethnal Green tomorrow.

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

07:00

Former arm-wrestling champ and Whitechapel stallholder Les Clayden is going back to his cockney ‘daisy roots’ to talk about ‘Swimming with Stingrays’.

Since the government’s austerity programme started in 2010, the council’s core funding from government has been cut in real terms by 64 per cent, which equates to £148m.

Yesterday, 18:21

Police have found the body of a missing student with links to east London.

Yesterday, 16:14

The mayor of Tower Hamlets has voluntarily had a blood test for Aids in a council campaign for public awareness for people to take part in HIV Testing Week starting tomorrow.

Yesterday, 13:48

Campaigners have called for support ahead of a national unity demonstration against racism and fascism.

Yesterday, 11:45

Police are appealing for help in finding a vulnerable man who has been missing for more than a week.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now