Sam King

was born in Jamaica in 1926. In 1944 he joined the RAF and was stationed in Britain. When demobbed, on return to Jamaica, he found a country whose economy was in steep decline. Unemployed, he made the decision to return to Britain. Arriving at Tilbury on board the Empire Windrush, determined and adamantly independent, refusing work, he returned to the Air Force. In 1953 he retired from the Services and began a 34 year career in the Post Office. Parallel to this he pursued work as a councillor for Southwark and was elected Mayor of the borough in 1983.

Throughout his life, Sam King has been a pillar of his local, and more widely, the black community. As well as his career in the post office, where he rose to an executive position, he worked as a health councillor, school governor and prominently in the church as a member of the borough deanery.

He met with hostility when attempting to buy his first house in Camberwell, which prompted him to set up a ‘partner’ house buying scheme, influenced by a similar scheme he had experience of in Jamaica. His work as a councillor, and his subsequent election as mayor (and deputy the following year) was the product of a strong need and belief in preservation and upkeep, something he also attributes to his background.

Until we reach the stage where we think of the next person as ourselves we will have problems.