I've just heard the sad news that local campaigner Gloria Johnson has passed away. Gloria had been unseen for a couple of weeks and her body was found in her flat on the Bemerton Estate. Gloria was a fearless, robust voice in local civic society speaking up for tenants of social housing, older people and indeed anything that occurred to her. She will be sorely missed.
Often walking down the Cally Road i would be hailed at high volume by Gloria, often from the launderette, to talk through her latest issues. She had a keen eye for things that were broken and needed fixing and absolutely no hesitation in spelling them out in words of one syllable with Anglo Saxon invective. We worked together to clean up a dangerous fire escape (Gloria could see it was blocked from her Perth House eerie and would ring me at such volume she needn't have bothered with the phone), to fix broken lights, clean up the drug and sex trade detritus. Indeed the very reason I set this site up in 2006 was because I was on a new committee with Gloria to clean up north kings cross and i knew it would generate a ton of work that i needed the web to manage. Gloria also stood up fearlessly to local anti social behaviour.
Although she could show great compassion, Gloria was often a very challenging person to work with – she was as good at breaking relationships as making them. Her attitude to race relations were certainly from a different era. But after cooling off you could always go back to her and start again as if nothing happened. Many local groups will miss Gloria's insight, even if their meetings might run a bit more smoothly.
For all her flaws Gloria was totally and utterly commited to making Kings Cross a better place and it's very sad that she is no longer with us.
No doubt there are many Gloria anecdotes and memories out there – please feel free to add them in a respectful tone in the comments.