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Mike Cartwright – a lifetime of public service

By the Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham Cllr PJ Murphy

Last Friday was the funeral of Alderman Mike Cartwright. It was a moving affair celebrating the life of one of the wisest, most dutiful and kindest people I have ever had the pleasure to make friends and work with.

I met Mike in 2009. He had been first elected when he was just 23 years-old, serving as a councillor on three different local authorities during his half century of public service. Luckily for us, he was elected to Hammersmith Broadway Ward in 1992.

So many of the eulogies given last week talked about how Mike genuinely cared about people he met and represented. How he would often talk about the challenges his constituents faced well after work should have finished - always seeking to find ways to change their lives for the better. And Mike had exacting standards, rightly expecting the council, and everyone who worked in it, to care about people as much as he did.

As Deputy Leader of the Labour Group in opposition, he was forensic and principled. He laid the groundwork for saving Charing Cross Hospital and the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates and more.

As Deputy Leader of the Council from 2014, Mike was diligent, hardworking and wise – the rock beneath everything the Council achieved. From putting the largest number of council-funded police onto our borough’s streets, saving the Law Centre and the Lyric Theatre, introducing free breakfast for all primary school children and our first-of-its-kind industrial strategy that gives children here the best chances at the best jobs and start-up opportunities anywhere in the world. Mike’s legacy is visible in every corner of the borough.

During his half century of public service Mike also served as Chair of the Association of London Government’s Transport and Environment Committee, where he took measures to extend and protect the Freedom Pass and, as a magistrate at West London Magistrates Court and Blackfriars Crown Court, where he was elected as Chair of the Bench. He used that position to improve the court’s approach to women suffering the trauma of domestic violence. He also served as a school governor at three local schools, as a trustee of St Paul’s Church Hall Trust Charity and on the Licensing Committee, the Planning Committee, as Chair of the Mortlake Crematorium Board and much else besides.

In 2017, Mike was elected as the Mayor of Hammersmith & Fulham. He was popular and well-respected. Sadly, in 2018 he chose to step down from public office having bravely battled cancer for much of his last term.

In recognition of his lifetime of service, in February 2019 he was made an Honorary Alderman was given the Freedom of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

Mike served the people of Hammersmith & Fulham and London for 26 years. His philosophy was that a good life was lived by helping others. Something he lived up to by dedicating his whole life to public service and duty to others. I miss him as do so many of his constituents who have kindly stopped me to tell about his impact on them.

Thank you Mike Cartwright.