Obituary: Brian Son

Born London, July 21, 1952. Died London, September 17, 2008, aged 56.


Cabbie turned business lecturer and local councillor, Brian Son won two council elections in Tower Hamlets and was deputy mayor of the Inner London borough in 2005.

Born and brought up in Walthamstow, North East London, the youngest of a large Jewish family, he was apprenticed to a printer but left to become an East End-based Dial-a-Cab driver.

He interspersed his cab shifts with part-time studies at the local college. Gaining a BA degree, he became a teacher and then lectured on business at Newham College.

He met his wife, Labour activist Julia Mainwaring, in the 1980s when both were volunteer workers at the Rights Shop, a drop-in advice centre in Bethnal Green.

Both stood for election in 1998, when Brian won a seat in the East India dock area ward, and his wife became Labour leader on the council, representing Millwall. In the 2006 council election, they both won a seat for the same ward, Blackwall and Cubitt Town.

A large figure at 6ft 3in and with a booming voice, he enjoyed meeting and trying to help people. Living in an area with a large immigrant population, he visited Bangladesh to gain an understanding of their background. He continued working for his constituents while battling cancer for eight years.

He is survived by his wife, son and step-daughter.

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