In 1998, when Diane was a member of The Canonbury Society Committee, she spoke eloquently of her concern for the disadvantaged young people in the community and the need to offer them support.
That message was strong and convincing, but such help was clearly beyond the remit of The Canonbury Society.
We were all too aware of the gangs of young people hanging around with little to do and seemingly nowhere to go. From Douglas Road residents we learnt about the Rose Bowl Youth Club which only had enough funding to open two nights a week and had no resources to stay open in the holidays. A series of meetings with Roger Alderton and Denise Melton, two of Islington’s Detached Youth Workers, made us even more aware of the issues facing local young people.
A letter to neighbours and friends asking for their help resulted in over £1,000 being raised in a week. This helped to fund the Summer Programme in 1998 and was such a success that we resolved to set up The Friends of the Rose Bowl to continue to raise funds from our local community to support the Club.
That concern for the underprivileged was central to Diane’s life. She was a teacher and introduced many a coal mining apprentice, manual worker, and mechanic to the glories of music, art, theatre and politics by explaining that when they took their girlfriends out on a Saturday night they needed something other than motor bikes to talk about.
All her students, but particularly the unemployed, the unteachable and the disaffected, found that their lives were changed by Diane.
The Labour Party, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and local politics were central to her life. In later years she led meetings of The University of the Third Age in her sitting room for lively discussions on Current Affairs.
It was always a stroke of luck to meet Diane on the street. Many have spotted her bright red hair and hurried to catch up with her, knowing that the conversation would be fun and they would continue on their way with a livelier step.
She loved cats, she loved children and she loved being helpful. Whether it was putting on waders and clearing weed from the New River or greeting guests at a Canonbury Society party, her enthusiasm lit up any task.
Diane will be much missed.
A memorial service will be held for her on Friday 8th December at 1.30pm in Islington Town Hall.
See also the Obituary in the Islington Tribune.