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JOHN CORDON (d.1999)

Extract from THE EALING GAZETTE , 28 May 2004

A FORMER social worker who helped set up a homeless hostel in Acton lost his six year battle against cancer last month.

John Cordon, 72, of Coldershaw Road, West Ealing, was described by friends as . a man with a love of history and storytelling. He was instrumental in organising the Coldershaw Road Millennium Street Party where he entertained revellers with sketches and stories.

He was born to Lillian and Lewis Cordon in Greenford in 1931. In the 1950s, Mr Cordon began training as a quantity sutveyor but, in 1959, after a stint in the Royal Navy, he became a probation officer attached to Brentael Magistrates CoUit. He remained a core worker on that team until he retired. It was his work as a probation officer that led to his involvement in setting up the homeless hostel at 376 Uxbridge Road, Acton. At this time he also lent his support to the A-Corn drop-in centre for the homeless, also in Acton.

However, Mr Cordon's love of helping people went much further than the boundaries of Ealing - when hurricane winds devastated Dominica in the 1980s, he and fellow social workers set up the Ginger Group which sent eight volunteers to the small island to help. He was also secretary of the United Anglo-Caribbean Society and a member of the then Community Relations Council.

His love of history did not only embrace his own memories. In the 1990s, Mr Cordon recorded the recollections of people living in the Ealing area which formed part of the Millennium Voices Archive at Gunnersbury Museum, Gunnersbury Park, Acton. This formed the foundation of his Reminiscence Roadshow, which, in conjunction with Questors Theatre, toured schools across Ealing, performing readings and songs about the last century.

Friends say his caring nature and determination to help others prompted Mr Cordon to take his place on the picket line outside Ealing Town Hall earlier this year in protest at the decision to cut funding to some community groups. Vivien Boyes, speaking on behalf of the Coldershaw Road Street Party Committee, said: "We will always cherish and remember the sketches and lively stories with which we were entertained as well as his valuable contribution to the planning of these events. "Nothing would have pleased him more than to share his 30th wedding anniversary this month with Violet and his children, Wendy and Jo-Anne, but it was not to be."

Mr Cordon died on April 23 and his funeral took place on April 30 at Kingsdown Methodist Church, Northfield Avenue, West Ealing.

Reminiscence Theatre at The Questors