Tributes have flooded in for a “tireless campaigner”, who died suddenly yesterday of a suspected heart attack.
Nicholas Russell was elected in 2010 as Labour councillor for Cann Hall ward in Leytonstone and held the position for four years.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy council leader and cabinet member for environment, worked with Nicholas over two decades.
In a tribute posted on facebook, he said: “Nick leaves legacies and achievements across some many different agendas and impacting on so many lives and organisations.
“A champion and a fighter; Nick, it was an honour and a privilege to have known you, worked with you and supported you,” he added.
Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, tweeted: “extremely shocked and saddened to hear of sudden death of Nicholas Russell.”
“One of Waltham Forest and the Coops most determined advocates.”
Mr Russell was the 6th Earl Russell, being the eldest son of Conrad Russell and Elizabeth Russell.
His grandfather was the famous philosopher and activist Betrand Russell, who, like Nicholas, was a dedicated campaigner for nuclear disarmament.
Mr Russell was an active disability rights campaigner and was himself disabled.
He was campaigns officer for the Royal National Institute of the Blind and a regional board member of the Co-operative Group.
Mr Russell was also a former chair of the Disability Labour and the group’s representative on the party's National Policy Forum, NEC equalities sub-committee and the Socialist Societies executive.
He was a governor for Davies Lane Primary School in Leytonstone, and helped the school secure an outstanding report by Ofsted.
Nicholas lived with his fiancée Georgina in Leytonstone until his sudden death at 45.
Leytonstone Cllr Marie Pye said on twitter: “So sad to hear about the sudden death of Nicholas Russell. A dedicated campaigner for disabled people.”
Iain McNicol, General Secretary of The Labour Party, tweeted: “So sorry to hear about the sudden death of Nicholas Russell.
“A dedicated campaigner for the disabled. Far too young.”