Tributes have been paid to much-loved Greenwich Councillor Christine Grice, after the authority announced her death following a battle with cancer.

Cllr Grice, the ward member for Kidbrooke with Hornfair, passed away on Tuesday after falling ill earlier this month.

Council leader Dan Thorpe said on Wednesday he was “devastated” by the news and added he would “forever be grateful” for his colleague’s “kindness, support and friendship”.

“Christine was a force of nature and someone I’ve had the privilege of working alongside in her role as ward Councillor for Kidbrooke with Hornfair, and also in her Cabinet Member role dedicated to Finance and Resources,” he said.

“She was a champion of improving people’s lives and a champion for equality.””

First elected in 2014, Cllr Grice had served on the authority’s cabinet as finance and resources member since 2018.

In March this year she was elected as deputy leader of the Labour group, in what Cllr Thorpe said was “a real demonstration of the high regard she was held in by her her colleagues”.

Her illness meant they were unable to wait until the council annual meeting on May 13 to officially appoint her, so with the unanimous support of members from across the chamber, Cllr Thorpe appointed her as official deputy leader on March 20 via a leader’s decision. 

“This is a role Christine was so proud to be nominated for, and one she thoroughly deserved, and I’m delighted that we were able to ensure that Christine was able to formally take up her role before she passed away,” Cllr Thorpe said.

The popular councillor was cheered by her colleagues at a meeting earlier this year after completing of months of demanding cancer treatment, but sadly fell ill again earlier this month.

Across the chamber, Conservative leader Matt Hartley said those at Town Hall had “lost a friend”.

“The whole council is devastated by this news. Christine achieved so much in her life and was a wonderful person. She was always thinking of others.  It was a privilege to know her, and all of our thoughts are with Christine’s family at this difficult time,” he said.

“We at the Town Hall have lost a friend, and Greenwich has lost a dedicated public servant and community leader who never stopped working for our borough. Christine’s contribution will not be forgotten.”

Cllr Thorpe said his Labour colleague had established a long-lasting legacy during her years serving on the authority.

“Very early on after being elected as a councillor she worked tirelessly with Cllr Linda Bird to develop a Fairness Commission here in Greenwich,” he said.

“Her most recent achievements include championing the Council Tax support scheme, which has provided support to thousands of our most vulnerable residents.

“Only a few weeks ago, Christine and myself met with a number of residents who were affected by the introduction of Universal Credit and who were going to benefit from the introduction of this scheme.

“It was a very moving meeting and one that moved Christine very much, hearing so tangibly the difference this policy would be making. I can think of no better legacy for Christine than this moment.”

“I will forever be grateful for the kindness, support and friendship Christine showed to me and all of us here at the council. We will miss her every day and will work tirelessly to ensure her legacy lives on.

“Christine was being cared for at the Greenwich and Bexley Hospice and I would like to pay my respects to this incredible organisation. We are so fortunate to have them here in our borough.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Christine’s family at this sad time.”

Details about the funeral will be confirmed by her family, including ways in which members of the Greenwich community can pay their respects.