First mayor in London’s East End to visit Bangladesh has died

The first-ever Mayor of Tower Hamlets to visit Bangladesh has died at 77 after a short illness.

Barry Blandford, who was mayor in 1991, was sponsored by an East End businessman for the trip soon after floods devastated the country—he made the disaster relief appeal one of his mayor’s charities that year.

He was a serving member of the London Fire & Civil Defence Authority at the time.

“Barry was an active mayor who took part in sponsored runs, despite his age,” said Lib Dem Cllr Stephanie Eaton.

“He took a strong interest in welfare and served on the Social Services committee most of the eight years he was a councillor, bringing practical experience as a single parent with three teenage children.”

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Cllr Blandford attended a wide range of engagements during his year as mayor, including several encounters with Royalty, meeting Princess Di twice.

He was a stalwart of the Sports Council and encouraged projects to get youngsters involved.

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But much of his time was consumed in the difficult, but essential, task of hearing disciplinary appeals where his wide experience of working life was important, ex-colleagues recalled this week.

He was Chair of Governors at Stephen Hawking school in Bow, while also serving on the Rates Valuation tribunal for many years.

Mr Blandford, first elected Liberal councillor for Poplar’s Lansbury ward in 1986, serving until 1994, was a tenant representative for his block and received at least one civic award.

He died peacefully on July 2 at his daughter’s home near Chelmsford, surrounded by his family.

His funeral is 11.30am on Friday at the City of London Crematorium in Manor Park. The family request no flowers, but will accept donations for one of Barry’s charities. Contact: Tracy on 07956-955804 or at

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