Vi & Garner Smith

VI and Garner Smith have spent a lifetime mixing business and pleasure and proved there is no truth In the old adage. (s797/36)
Partners in love and politics

A COUPLE with over a century of Labour Party service between them show politics and family can mix as they celebrate their golden wedding.

Since they first met in the Labour League of Youth in 1935, Garner and Vi Smith have tackled practically every job within Walthamstow Labour Party.

Their political records read like a "Who's Who" of local Labour politics over the past half-century.

They were married by West Leyton MP, Rev Reg Sorensen, and worked closely with Prime Minister Clement Attlee when he was MP for West Walthamstow after the war.

Garner was agent to former Walthamstow MP Eric Deakins in several election campaigns, and the couple have maintained a life-long friendship with Lord Arthur Bottomley.

Garner (74) was first elected to the old Walthamstow Borough Council in 1958 and served as a councillor for 25 years.

Vi (69) first became a councillor in 1965 and is only reluctantly giving up her seat at the next election in May.

During their time on the council the couple cultivated a special interest in education. They have served as governors at Waltham Forest College, North East London Polytechnic and numerous local schools.

Garner and Vi have both been rewarded for their outstanding service to the Labour Party with presentations at the annual conference.

The couple agree the highlight of their political careers was when they were Mayor and Mayoress in 1971.

Said Vi: "It was a marvellous year. I think we visited just about every school and organisation in Waltham Forest.

"It was a real eye-opener to find out how much work was going on throughout the community."

Garner and Vi think their common interest in Labour politics has kept their marriage strong despite the inevitable strains.

Said Garner: 'The key to our marriage is that we have both been so interested in politics."

And Vi continued: "Politics can take over your life but you must never forget your family. You must be careful to keep the family together."

The couple are very proud of their three sons who are following a variety of successful careers in science and computing.

They will be joining over 100 special guests at tomorrow's (Saturday) huge party to celebrate Vi and Garner's 50 years of marital and political union.

Waltham Forest Guardian March 16, 1990

Click Guardian for Garner's obit
Waltham Forest Guardian June 13, 2007

62 per cent campaign
Vi Smith on harassment

It's not stopped. It's got worse in fact

£10,000 worth of shares

foster parents

life insurance

I don't think I can cope

Since Saturday the number has gone up to 97 (presumably unsolicited items arriving in the post)

I have laughed about it in public when its been mentioned but I have taken a very cool attitude

Quite a lot of this has come from Business Success Magazines which isn't picked up by every Tom Dick and Harry

I have been put on two bad debt registers, by the way.
Notes probably written at Labour Group meeting July 16, 1987.

Plucky councillor carries on after letter bomb shock

Anger at attack bid on woman of 67
Report: Sally Blakey

THE hate campaign being waged against Waltham Forest Labour Councillorstook an ugly and dangerous turn when an elderly womancouncillor was sent a letter bomb.

Only 67-tear-oldCouncillor Vi Smith'squick thinking and alertness saved her fromserious injury or evenworse, say Police.

The bomb was sent in a package and arrived with the morning post last Friday morning, but Cllr. Smith, a JP with years on the council, became suspicious and immediately called the police.

Bomb disposal experts were called in and the parcel made safe before it was removed from her home in Walthamstow, for forensic examination.


Council colleagues are puzzled at why Mrs Smith should be singled out in the campaign. She has already had several hate objects directed at her.

But ironically she was one of the councillors who originallyopposed the giant 62 per cent rate increase.

A shaken Mrs Smith said afterwards that she was as determined asever to stick with her party.

"I feel shaken, but nothing they can do orsay will make me resign," she said.

And hours after the bomb was discovered it was business as usual for the plucky councillor as she continued interviewing for a new chief education officer.

Said angry deputy leader Councillor Bill Dennis: "Hers is the kind of dedication we are talking about.

"We feel really angry about the whole business and particularly that people like Vi, who have spent so long on the Council and served so well, end up having to put up with what she has.

" The people who would consider doing such a thing are morons-- scum who are obviously capable of doing anything.

"This is attempted murder. The letterbomb was meant tohurt or maim. It's just lucky it did not go off." Detective SergeantBrian Dowling investigating the case said thepackage contained an improvised incendiary device, but its capabilities are not yet known. was probably capable of causing serious injury, but this has yet to be confirmed,said.

An explosives officer told me that it was a very dangerous thing to and we are taking itvery seriously indeed."

Other councillorshave also been warnedby police to be extravigilant, especially when opening theirmail.


Condemning thepeople responsible forthe device MartinBaxter of the Rate-payers Action Groupsaid: "I'm totallyappalled by anylawlessness whichhas gone on in this'campaign."

He appealed toanyone involved to givethemselves up to policeand added he would put"feelers" out within theorganisation himself totry and expose thoseresponsible.

Fanatics condemned

THE hate campaignagainst the Labourcouncillors was steppedup last Wednesday afterWaltham Forest Ratepayers Action Grouplost its high court bid toget a rate reduction.

From the early daysof the rates battle theaction group leadershave always disassociated themselves from thehate campaign andcondemned thoseresponsible.

Fanatics on thefringes of the grouphave been blamed andaction group leadersswore to expose anyonefound to be responsible.

And at last week'sfull council meeting,opposition councillor voted unanimouslywith Tory leaderMichael Lewis to condemn the peoplecarrying out thecampaign of hatred.

Also last week,several councillors,including Vi Smith,deputy mayor KenSanders and BillAnstey, received deaththreats.

Other threats have been just as sinister,with callers threateningto harm councillors'families.

One caller even knewthe route a child he hadthreatened took toschool, and hadobviously been following the family.


Labour leader NeilGerrard believes morethan one person isinvolved in the hatecampaign and is convinced people on thefringes of the actiongroup are involved.

"I am sure AlanCrown and Martin Baxter would not wantanything to do with it,but some people in thefringes of the group areinvolved," he said.

"It is an organisedoperation with all theleaflets that are beinganonymously printed.and sent out."

Mr Gerrard himselfwas one of the firstvictims of the campaignwhen a fire bomb wasthrown at his home, butlately the hatred hasshifted from him toother colleagues.
Yellow Advertiser August 7, 1987.

See also Leonard Knox's letter about this.