TRIBUTES have been pouring in to popular community activist Peter Spiro, who died last week.

Mr Spiro, 79, of Somers Road, Walthamstow died at the National Hospital for Neurology, in Queen Square, London, following a series of strokes.

The grandfather-of-four campaigned against cuts to the William Morris Gallery opening hours and served as vice chairman then acting chairman of the Friends of William Morris Gallery.

He was also a member of the Friends of Lloyd Park, a Labour Party member, and an active borough resident.

Born in Vienna, Mr Spiro was a child holocaust survivor, who was transported to England during the Second World War.

As a refugee, Peter was fostered first in North Wales and then with a kind English chemist and his family in Dorset.

He spent most of his working life at the Institute of Bankers, and met his future wife Marion during three years in the army in the late 1940s.

He settled in Reigate, Surrey and had two daughters, Kate and Nicola.

He only moved to Walthamstow in 2004 but quickly made it his home and described himself as a “Stow boy”

In a joint statement ,his daughters Kate and Nicola said: “Naturally a city boy, he loved the hustle and bustle of Walthamstow, its endless market and its rich tapestry of people.

“He thrived in this environment, quickly becoming an active borough resident and a tireless campaigner on behalf of the community’s cultural and political life.

“He regularly attended community council meetings, would spend nights writing letters by hand to the Waltham Forest Guardian's letters page as well as councillors and others and was passionate about what he saw as terrific injustice meted out by the local council in its restructuring of library and gallery services. “ “Peter has left a lasting and positive impression on the minds of many in all walks of life, not least those in E17 and will be sadly missed by those as well as his family.”

Helen Dunstan-Smith, secretary of the Friends of William Morris Gallery, said it was “difficult to put into words” how she felt about Mr Spiro's death.

She said: “Peter Spiro was one of the most exceptional individuals that I have ever met.

"I feel highly privileged to have known him and worked along side him, to have benefited from his immense wealth of experience and witnessed his sheer determination and those rare abilities as a superb orator and negotiator.   “At once both a subversive and a supreme diplomat, he was truly unique and will be so very missed by so many people.”

The funeral will be a private, low-key affair, but the family hopes to organise an event celebrating Mr Spiro's life in the new year.

Click here to follow the Waltham Forest Guardian on Twitter