Councillors have remembered a ‘passionate and modest’ Labour councillor who died yesterday.
Burt Luthers, 77, from Thrale Road, Streatham, served in Tooting ward as a Labour councillor for 17 years after coming to the country from Guyana, in South America, aged 19.
Labour councillor Tony Belton paid tribute to him and said he was from an underprivileged background and Labour ‘by instinct’.
He said: “He was a stalwart member of the Labour Party that I worked with for 12 years.
“He continued to be very active after ceasing to be councillor. At one time there was barely an edition of the Wandsworth Borough News that didn’t have his weekly letter.
“He was very keen on transport and passenger transport for the disabled. He was very loyal and a straight up and down person.
“Our deepest sympathies from the Wandsworth Labour Party go out to Doreen [his wife] and the family.”
Furzedown councillor Leonie Cooper said: “It was very sad – he was a lovely lovely man. He was modest but he was also passionate about the things he felt strongly about.”
The leader of the council Ravi Govindia also paid tribute to Mr Luthers, who was a councillor between 1973 and 1990.
He said: "This is very sad news indeed and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.
"I have known Burt since the early 1970s when we first worked together on making life better for the people of Tooting, albeit from different sides of the political fence, but he always struck me as a wise and very fair-minded local politician and activist who dedicated his life to community causes in Tooting.
"In recent years he was an avid writer of letters to the local paper and in this way he continued to influence matters and raise issues of concern long after he stood down as a councillor. I will remember him with great fondness."
Sadiq Khan, the MP for Tooting, said: "Burt was at the first ever Labour Party meeting I attended as a 15-year-old. Back then he was Councillor, and he was always warm, friendly and kind.
"He encouraged me to get more involved and suggested I stand for the council as a 23-year-old, which I did in 1994. Over the last two decades he provided me with wise counsel and has been a good friend too.
“As the first ever BAME councillor elected in Tooting he has left an important political legacy, but as a father, husband and friend he has also left behind a huge personal legacy."
Mr Luthers did not stand in 1990, 94 or 98, but did stand in 2002 in Furzedown narrowly missing out on a seat by 43 votes.
If you would like to pay tribute to Mr Luthers email firstname.lastname@example.org
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