A councillor branded a "giant of local government" has died after a long battle with illness.

Graham Lane, a Newham councillor for 24 years and a decade-long Harold Wood resident, passed away on March 25, his surviving wife Isabel Darling said.

The 80-year-old, commended by political colleagues, had been fighting advanced Alzheimer's disease and died in his home at around 4.20pm.

Isabel, who was married to Graham for almost 42 years, reflected fondly on the time they spent together.

"We did quite a lot of travelling, especially after I retired," Isabel said. "I admired his sense of adventure, his confidence and determination."

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Isabel said a colleague of Graham's on the London Government Association had since called him "a giant of local government", a title reflected in his political achievements.

Sir Stephen Timms, Labour MP for East Ham, commended Graham for his work in education.

"As a former teacher in Newham, he cared deeply about education," Sir Timms said. "The depth of his commitment to public service was always striking, and he left a very large gap when he stepped down."

Graham was elected as a Labour councillor for the former Hudson ward from 1986 to 2002, and Plaistow South ward in the West Ham constituency between 2002 and 2010.

Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, who offered her deepest condolences, said: “Graham was a dedicated Labour councillor resolutely committed to improving the opportunities and outcomes for all Newham residents, particularly our children and young people.

"This legacy of honourable, honest and ethical public service that will be cherished by all who were so privileged in knowing Graham," she added.

Graham, who met Isabel at a National Union of Teachers meeting in 1978, was always dedicated to matters of education, a senior Havering Labour colleague said.

Keith Darvill, leader of the Havering Labour Group and a colleague of Graham's at left-wing political group the Fabian Society, said: "He was very strong on education matters, a good campaigner and supported us all as local councillors.

"He was a very friendly person, a calm speaker and influential in the sense he had a lot of background experience," he added. 

Graham's funeral will be on April 26 at 11am at Manor Park Crematorium in Forest Gate.