Tributes paid after Tower Hamlets councillor dies at 40
- Credit: Mike Brooke
A long-standing Tower Hamlets councillor has died suddenly after being found at his home in the East End.
John Pierce, who had represented Bethnal Green's Weavers ward at the town hall for a decade, has died at the age of 40.
The shock news has brought tributes from fellow councillors and the mayor.
"John was committed to serving the people," Mayor John Biggs told the East London Advertiser. "He lived here many years and was a great part of our community.
"I am utterly shocked by his death. We are all reeling from this news which has come out of the blue.
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"John was a genuinely committed person who fought for people who lacked power themselves who needed decent lives."
The mayor also issued a statement, which reads: "This sad news is a real shock to all of us. He was a hard-working councillor, a friend and a respected member of our community and we need time to come to terms with this.”
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Cllr Pierce, who worked for the National Housing Federation, lost no time when he was elected in 2012 in a by-election at Bethnal Green's Weavers ward leading a campaign to save One Stop Shop services being shut down. He also campaigned on housing and other community issues, then chaired the authority's strategic planning committee after Labour came to power in 2015.
John was prominent in promoting Brick Lane's night-time economy and was also active in the debate about the Spitalfields town council campaign.
Tributes also came from the opposition group on the council.
Conservative Peter Golds said: "John was elected at a by-election in 2012 and his knowledge and background in housing ensured he made an important contribution to the council's work.
"He was an effective committee chair who had been granted leave following his adoption of a son — this makes a double tragedy for the family of a man who turned 40 just nine days ago."
John's close friends in Tower Hamlets Labour Party, Amy Whitelock-Gibbs and Carlo Gibbs, both former councillors until 2018, have also issued a statement: “We are devastated and heartbroken to share the news that our beloved friend and comrade has died.
“John’s passion and dedicated community service has touched many lives. A huge number of people will be deeply saddened by this sudden news."
It adds: “We are currently supporting his family as they process and manage this tragic event."
The couple are in touch with John's family and are asking that their privacy is respected until they are able to say more.