A former councillor and long-standing member of the Labour party has died.
Gee Bernard was Croydon’s first black councillor, and represented the West Thornton ward from 1986 to 2002.
She was born in 1934, in Jamaica, where she attended high school until the age of 15. Coming to England, she studied at North London University and East London College, where she qualified as a social worker.
Her first taste of local government came in 1980 when she worked in the education department of Tower Hamlets Council.
After being elected to Croydon Council, she sat on a range of committees, including: education (1986 to 2000), licensing and consumer services, housing, social services, community health, and grants and awards.
A committed member of the community, she also served as a governor of two local schools, and on the Croydon Citizens Advice Bureaux committee, Relate, Croydon Race Equality Council, Upper Norwood Association for Community Care, West Thornton Community Centre, Croydon Community Police Consultative Committee, and Croydon Juvenile Justice Liaison Committee, among others.
In 1993, Ms Bernard founded community charity Croydon African and Caribbean Family Organisation with two initial aims – to start a school to assist children excluded from education, and a club for elderly residents providing mental and physical activities, and occasional daytrips.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
“I’m very sad to hear of the passing of former Labour councillor and Alderwoman Gee Bernard.
“She can best be described as a force for good in Croydon; a staunch supporter of the community who made a very real difference to so many people, both in the West Thornton ward she represented and beyond.”