Remembering the members of the first ever Labour Council in Brighton, elected in 1986

Yesterday I wrote an item regarding Ray Blackwood who passed away recently.  (His funeral is at 12 noon on Thursday 8th November at Woodvale Crematorium, Brighton).

I was contacted by someone who said that Ray was just one of two surviving members of the 1964 Labour Group on Brighton Borough Council, the other being Harry Steer.

The 1964 Labour Group included Harry Steer, Ray Blackwood, Dennis Hobden, Bert Briggs, Nobby Clarke, George Humphrey, Stanley Deason, Stan Fitch, Idwal Francis, Don Ranger, Bill Sheldon, Bert Clack, Graham Carter, Bob Millard.

This was before my time.  Has anyone got any further names and even, perhaps, a photo?  I would love to see it.

All of this got me thinking about the first Labour administration in Brighton, elected 32 years ago in 1986.  I tried to remember the names of all 23 of my colleagues.  I listed 22 but got stuck on the final two.  The I realised I  hadn’t included myself, but for the life of me I can’t remember the 24th member.  Can anyone help?

The seven women Labour councillors in 1986 (l-r) Christine Simpson, Pat Hawkes, Gill Sweeting, Joyce Edmond-Smith, Jacqui Lythell, Jenny Backwell and Gill Haynes

The 23 were: Ian Duncan, Mick Johnson, Joyce Edmond-Smith, Pat Hawkes, Ray Blackwood, Tehm Framroze, David Lepper, Chris Morley, Brian Fitch, Gill Sweeting, Christine Simpson, Jenny Backwell, Jacqui Lythell, Joe Townsend, Richard Stanton, Steve Bassam, Bob Davies, Nobby Clarke, Denis Hobden, Brennan Turner, Arthur King, Gill Haynes and me.

What is very sad is that, with Ray’s passing, over a third of the 1986 administration are no longer with us.

Labour was only able to take control thanks to the decision of the outgoing Conservative Mayor, Bob Cristofili, who used his casting vote in favour of the Labour nominee, Jacqui Lythell, having used his personal vote to support the Conservative nominee.  The vote had been tied 24-24.  Bob passed away recently.  You can find my tribute to him here.

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8 thoughts on “Remembering the members of the first ever Labour Council in Brighton, elected in 1986

  1. A helpful reminder of Brighton and Hove’s recent socialist history,Andy. I hope Labour gets a good majority next year but it won’t by any means be the first socialist council locally as I have seen some suggest. I think the ‘missing’councillor in your list might have been Stan Fitch. Can’t remember when he retired.

    • Hi David, thanks for the reply. It isn’t Stan. He stood down in 1984 to be replaced by Joyce Edmond-Smith. Did we win a seat in Marine Ward in 1986, or a second one in Kingscliff? I know we didn’t win a second seat in Regency until later. All the best, Andy

      • Jeane has been suggesting Jon Allen all along and looking at the photo again we’re sure his is the head sticking up at the back behind Jackie Lythell

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