CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Calls for Lulu Mitchell’s name to be etched into Town Hall wall of fame

Former councillor lost souvenir badge in burglary

31 May, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Lulu Mitchell at her flower stall during her time as a councillor

SHE is the flower seller who saved the mayor’s parlour in a moment of crisis, but you might not know it from walking around the Town Hall.

Former councillor Lulu Mitchell’s name was not carved into the marble hall of fame on the civic floor because she was never officially sworn in as the ­borough’s first citizen.

Instead, she took on all of the mayoral duties in 2010 without getting the full credit. To add insult to injury, her main souvenir from the experience – the badge given to all those who have served as either a mayor or as deputy in Camden – was stolen in a burglary at her flat on the Wendling estate in Gospel Oak. It has never been found.

As she returned to the Town Hall chamber as a guest at last week’s mayor-making, friends and former colleagues of all political colours said it was time to make sure that Ms Mitchell’s ­chapter in Camden’s ­history is not forgotten.

Kirsty Roberts, who sat on the Conservative benches with Ms Mitchell, said: “She was popular, she was a ­wonderful mayor. I see her as a mayor of ­Camden, whatever ­people say, and if she had not agreed to do all of the things she did, what would have happened?”

Ms Mitchell was called into action when the actual mayor, Omar Faruque Ansari, was arrested in office as part of a benefits claims investigation. He denied any wrong-doing and refused to resign, but was stopped by the council from further mayoral duties. The case was later dropped.

Ms Roberts said: “The Town Hall is being refurbished, so there should be an opportunity for Lulu to be included. They will talk about protocols, but this was a very special exception, and she should be rewarded for what she did with her name on the wall.”

Lulu Mitchell with Kirsty Roberts at last week’s mayor-making event

The annual mayor-making ceremony sees all past mayors invited back and the likes of Barbara Hughes and Jill Fraser were in the audience last week as new mayor Jenny Headlam-Wells was inducted.

Ms Mitchell, whose flower stall is in Oriel Place, Hampstead, said: “Everybody was there and I was the only one there without a badge. You feel like a spare part, as if people are looking at you and thinking, you weren’t really the mayor. I was the only one who had to do the job of mayor and deputy mayor at the same time.”

She added: “I lost my badge when my flat was burgled, and I just thought then I had to move out of there – and I moved to Barnet. It was in a safe and they took the whole safe. The badge would be of no use to anybody. It had my name on it.”

Asked by the New Journal whether a replacement could be issued, given Ms Mitchell’s contribution to the council, a spokesman said: “We are very sorry to hear of this burglary and her loss, of which we were not aware, had taken place. We are contacting Lulu to discuss the replacement of her mayoral badge.”

The Town Hall marble ‘wall of fame’

But on marking her name on the historic marble walls at Judd Street, the spokesman added: “The council will always be grateful for Lulu stepping up from deputy mayor to cover the mayoral position at this difficult time. “To show our respect to her for this service we always invite her to our associated mayoral events. During this period Lulu remained deputy mayor, as the incumbent mayor was still in post even though they were absent from duty, which is why her name is not included on the marble on the civic floor.”

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