Tributes from people, organisations and across political parties have been paid to Dr Patricia Walker, Mayor of Ealing 2016/17 and a Ealing Labour councillor for North Greenford & Acton Central who passed away last night (1 April 2023) aged 76.
Ealing Labour Councillor Daniel Crawford tweeted: “Devastated to learn of the passing of my friend, 2016 Mayor of #Ealing former @EalingLabour councillor for North Greenford and Acton Central and brilliant @EalingCouncil Cabinet member Patricia Walker last night. My thoughts are with Patricia’s family and friends.”
Jo Kibble who was head of the Leader’s Office at Ealing Council from 2015-22 tweeted about how pro-active Dr Walker was. “V sad to hear this – Patricia was one of the first mayors of Ealing I worked with and was a tower of commitment to the borough’s communities. Even long after she had retired as a cllr she was passing me casework she’d picked up, because she cared so deeply about helping others.”
Ealing Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Gary Malcolm tweeted: “Very sad to hear about the death of former Ealing Mayor Dr Patricia Walker today. She was always a friendly face, even to opposition councillors like myself and had always put the Ealing community first. @EalingLD councillors sends our regards to her family. We will miss her.”
Ealing Conservative Councillor Gregory Stafford tweeted: “Saddened to learn of the death of Patricia Walker. Despite our obvious political differences, we got on well and she was always very kind to me and my family. My thoughts and prayers are with her family. Resquiescat in pace.”
Ealing Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Steed tweeted: “Very sad news. Condolences to family and friends.”
West London Equality Centre tweeted: “We are sad to announce that our much loved trustee Patricia Walker, former Mayor London Borough of Ealing, and visiting professor at UWL, has died. She was often seen about in Ealing and very engaged with all its communities.”
Dr Walker, who was from the North East of England, followed in the footsteps of her own mother and grandfather by being active in politics from an early age. Dr Walker’s mother, Alberta Patricia Wallace was a mayor herself and also alderman of Gateshead.
In 2016, Dr Walker recounted those early days. She said: ““I was active as a child actually, when I was just two years old I remember being in the back of the car and being given the megaphone to shout ‘vote, vote for Albert Esther’, who was my grandfather.”
Dr Walker was first elected to Ealing Council in 2006 representing North Greenford ward. At the time, the council was run by the Conservatives and she was appointed to the shadow Labour cabinet with the portfolio for children and young people.
In 2010, she won a seat in the Acton Central ward and was appointed cabinet member for children and families which she held until 2013. Her other cabinet member posts included adult services and public health and leisure, sport and libraries.
In 2015, she became deputy mayor of Ealing to Councillor Harbhajan Kaur Dheer and in 2016 become mayor herself.
Her chosen charity which each mayor raises funds to support was Acton Homeless Concern. She said at the time: “As a mother and grandmother I know that, for most people, a stable home is tantamount to a palace. The work undertaken by Acton Homeless Concern is so important to many people struggling to access the support and services many of us take for granted. This is a wonderful opportunity to raise funds and highlight the vital work they do.”
Since 2014, Dr Walker was a visiting professor to University of West London where her LinkedIn profile said she is a: “Comparative educationist specialising in international higher education. She has experience of university teaching in a number of universities in UK and in Nigeria and Japan over a range of academic levels.”
Adding to the tributes, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, Dr Rupa Huq tweeted: “heard this morning Cllr Professor Patricia passed away last night. Deeply sad news; academia and Ealing have lost a force of nature and me a good friend to cancer. Love to Laurie and family”.
Dr Walker is survived by her husband Lawrence, two children and grandchildren.