A community activist and former councillor has died.  

Vi Gostling MBE, died at Whipps Cross Hospital on Monday morning, at the age of 97. 

The lifelong Labour supporter, former councillor in Leyton and deputy mayor prior to the formation of Waltham Forest, was known throughout the community for her activism and support of public libraries.

She had lived in the same house in Cheneys Road, Leytonstone, her entire life and remained active in various voluntary groups despite suffering from Osteoarthritis. 

In 2009, Ms Gostling was awarded an MBE for her outstanding contribution to society, which included her involvement in the libraries committee and the Waltham Forest Arts Council, as well as being instrumental in the founding of the Waltham Forest Civic Society and Waltham Forest Arts. 

Ms Gostling was a vocal opponent to the closing of Leytonstone's Harrow Green Library in 2011 and challenged the potential closure of the William Morris Gallery, and the council's proposal  to sell-off artefacts. 

Ros Kane, organiser and founder of the Leytonstone-based News from Nowhere Club, has worked with Ms Gostling on a variety of projects and campaigns over the years. 

She said: "Vi had enormous integrity and was very passionate in the need for arts, helping our young people, and ensuring good government. 

"She inspired many and earned respect and affection in Waltham Forest and beyond. 

"In every person she met, she always took a great interest and was adamant about bringing all parts of the community together, such as with the Leytonstone Festival.

"She was outspoken but also diplomatic and a very good chairperson at meetings. She will be sadly missed."

Her ties in the community span across Waltham Forest and involved several different sectors, such as governing Tom Hood School and the Acacia Nursery, to setting up Leytonstone Festival and Waltham Forest Drama Festival.