Andrea’s cruel and untimely death has deprived the movement of a comrade who was loved by all who knew her for her rare ability to combine political commitment with a tremendous sense of humour and zest for life.
This was reflected in her good sense and a remarkable range of interests from painting to all forms of outdoor life.
An inspirational teacher of PE and, later, of technology, she was always drawn towards those students who needed the most help.
Her work for refugees and asylum seekers and with students who had been excluded from mainstream schools was testimony to her deeply held belief that everyone had an equal right to flourish and grow as individuals in their education.
Andrea was both a militant trade unionist and a wonderful advocate for socialism. She had that rare ability to be liked and respected even by those who disagreed with her.
She was active in the NUT union throughout her life as a teacher and a parent in Islington and Hackney. Everyone who worked with her will always remember her warmth and her big smile, her youthful enthusiasm for the fight and her encouragement when things got tough.
At Islington Green in the 1990s she played a key role in strengthening union organisation in the school. She helped win the argument for unofficial action against threatened cuts and sackings at Holloway school, and organised against the victimisation of the school by Ofsted.
Andrea’s political commitment and her ability to reach out and unite people from many different backgrounds was epitomised by the way she threw herself into the Stop the War movement, and the role she played in campaigning for Respect. As late as this August she took part in a demonstration in Hackney protesting against Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.
Andrea’s death has robbed us of a colleague, a friend and a comrade but her memory will inspire us to continue to fight for the better world she so much wanted to achieve.
Our love and best wishes go to her husband John, children Sophie, Emily and David and grandchildren Tommy and Frances.
Andrea’s funeral will be held on Friday 8 December at 2.30pm at Golders Green crematorium.
Anwar Ditta, a heroic anti-racist campaigner, died last week.