The Jewish Chronicle

Sam Cohen


Born Leeds, January 14, 1904. Died London, March 18, 2007, aged 103.

HACKNEY MAYOR Sam Cohen was devoted to helping the needy, to Labour and to Zionism.

Moving from Leeds as a child with his Russian-born parents, he became a master tailor in the East End of London. A member from his youth of the Labour Party and Poale Zion, the Zionist Labour movement, he entered local politics as a councillor in Stoke Newington in 1945.

He was chairman, secretary and agent of the Stoke Newington Labour Party. In the borough of Stoke Newington he was mayor in 1959, deputy mayor and alderman. When Stoke Newington was absorbed into the Greater London Borough of Hackney in 1965, he repeated the series of offices, serving as mayor in 1978. He received the freedom of each borough.

As chairman of the twinning committee, he secured the twinning of Hackney with Haifa in 1968. He was vice-chairman and later vice-president of Poale Zion and an executive member of the Zionist Federation.

He helped everyone at all hours , regardless of party, religion or colour. He was chairman and later life president of the Hackney Associatio­n for the Disabled, and chairman of the Hackney and Islington branch of the NSPCC and the Workers’ Circle Friendly Society. With his wife, whom he married in 1928 and who actively partnered him, he founded the still-thriving Sam and Annie Day Centre in 1984.

After her death in 1987, he lived alone and was lucid to the end, retaining all his faculties and wit. He made his last trip to Israel at 101 and spent his final days in Homerton Hospital, whose foundation stone-laying he had attended 20 years earlier as Hackney’s deputy mayor.

He is survived by his daughter Renee, son Martin, six grandchild­ren and 19 great-grandchild­ren.

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