Tributes have poured in for long-time H&F resident Adriaan Van Zyl who died recently.
The long-standing local advocate for community improvement has been remembered with a special plaque on his favourite bench in the grounds of his former home in Cheesemans Terrace, West Kensington.
Adriaan – aged 80 – served his community for many years, including working as a Church Warden at St Andrews, Fulham Fields, and in the council’s Defend Council Homes working group.
He was the Chair of the Housing Representatives Forum, working alongside Tenants & Residents Association representatives across the borough.
Adriaan also gave his time to other groups working with H&F Council’s housing department, relating to sheltered housing, repairs and estate services, and building safety.
Cllr Frances Umeh, H&F Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, said: “Adriaan was known across H&F for the wonderful work he did to improve and support the community.
“I greatly admire the passion he had for H&F and his unwavering commitment to help us improve it. His legacy of hard work, dedication and making a meaningful difference will continue to live on.”
Adriaan received the British Empire Medal for ‘services to the community’, an honour he was modest about as he preferred the focus to be on the community groups’ work.
‘Adriaan’s bench’, a seat where he spent much of his time in the grounds of his sheltered housing complex, has been decorated with a plaque in his memory. The engraving reads:
Adriaan Van Zyl
In Loving Memory. Loved and respected by his friends and the community.
The plaque was unveiled to those who knew and worked with him on Saturday 17 September in a small, private ceremony. His family were overwhelmed with the turnout and H&F officers who worked closely with Adriaan said a few words.
Fellow members of the various groups Adriaan was involved in across H&F took the time to share their memories of him.
“It was a privilege working with Adriaan on various groups within the Council,” said Shepherds Bush resident Christopher Took. “He always acted with great care and kindness. He was endlessly generous with his time and talents.”
While local resident Anna McInulty said: “Adriaan was a gentleman and never had a bad word to say about anyone. Thank you for being our chairperson and all the work you did in Hammersmith & Fulham, rest in peace, you will be truly missed.”
And H&F Council employee and Hammersmith resident Kim Shearer shared: “Adriaan was such a passionate advocate for the work of the Investment Group and for environmental improvements in the borough.
“He brought together residents where he lived and was so proud of the recent project at Orchard Square and Cheesemans Terrace Sheltered Housing Scheme.”
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