Lionel Morrison OBE

It is with great sadness that we learn the news of the death of our friend Lionel Morrison OBE. Lionel was a journalist and political activist born on 13 October 1935. He passed away on 31st October 2016.

He served on the Board of Hastoe for twenty years and was passionate about tenants, quality services and diversity.

Lionel was always passionate about equality and championing the voice of the tenant. His wisdom was always shared with gentleness and care underpinned by a steely determination to stand up for what is right. When he retired from the Board of Hastoe in 2013 he said that he particularly enjoyed his work as the Chair of the Continuous Improvement Group, of tenants, staff and stakeholders, working together, under his stewardship to improve services and celebrate diversity.

Lionel was born in 1935 and grew up in South Africa, becoming politically active in his teens, and was the youngest defendant in the Treason Trial of 1956, alongside other anti-apartheid activists including Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.

He had previously served five months’ imprisonment in Johannesburg’s notorious prison, The Fort, for his opposition to apartheid, but this time he was acquitted.

He then began working on the first black weekly newspaper, Golden City Post and Drum magazine, during which time he helped found the South African National Union of Journalists, a non-racial organisation.

In 1960 he was advised to leave South Africa as he was likely to be imprisoned again, and stowed away to Southampton with £3.10 in his pocket.

He got a job as press officer for the Anti-Apartheid Movement before becoming a journalist for The People. With a distinguished career in journalism, he became the National Union of Journalist’s first black president in 1987 and worked hard for the union for more than 40 years.

Housing was one of Lionel’s enduring passions. From 1970 Lionel had helped and advised the Notting Hill Housing Trust, the charity working to provide affordable housing for Londoners, and joined its board in 1976, showing a determination to involve tenants in decision-making. He became chairman in 1994 and remained on the board well into his retirement. In 1999, he was appointed OBE for his work in this field.

He is survived by Liz and their two sons. Our deepest sympathy goes to them and all his family and friends.



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