A dedicated political couple who were “devoted to each other and their family” are remembered today as selfless and energetic in their work to help others.

Garner and Vi Smith, long-time Labour politicians and community activists, lived and worked in Waltham Forest for nearly their whole lives.

Mr Smith, who was also known to many as Bob, passed away in 2007 at the age of 90 after a long career that included Labour councillor and mayor, school governor and charity chairman.

He was described by Eric Deakins, MP for Walthamstow from 1974-87, as “a selfless person of a kind that is now rare in British politics.”

As a couple, Garner and Vi were renowned for their varied work in Waltham Forest.

Speaking after her death in 2008 at the age of 88, Peter Dawe, former mayor of Walthamstow said: “It is impossible to find words to adequately express the contribution Vi has made to Waltham Forest and Walthamstow before it - councillor, mayoress, electoral agent, school and college governor, charity worker, magistrate.

“In all these she showed her dedication, energy and integrity.”

Mr and Mrs Smith worked together in nearly everything they did, and were known as the longest-wed couple in the Labour party after 67 years of marriage.

Speaking to the Guardian after the death of her husband, Mrs Smith said: “I could not work properly without him and he could not work properly without me."

They were trustees of the Walthamstow and Chingford Almshouse Charity for a total of 70 years between them, they worked together for the council and in 2006, they were both made freemen of Waltham Forest in recognition of their public service.

The couple had three sons, Michael, Jeffrey and Laurence, and are remembered by them for their work helping people from all backgrounds and faiths.

Youngest son Laurence Smith said: “Garner and Vi Smith were a unique couple, whose only goal in life was to serve others.

“They were not paid politicians, and most of their time never bothered even claiming expenses, as it was their honour to serve Walthamstow."

Tottenham Independent:

An official mayoral photo of Garner Smith from 1971-72

“They were Labour party members, but actually outside the election times, you find their closest friends were people of all political persuasions and indeed people from every community.”

He added: “They did not care about where a person came from, as far as they were concerned, they simply wanted to help, in any way they could.”

Tottenham Independent:

Vi Smith (right) at a celebration of her husband’s life at the Walthamstow and Chingford Almshouse Charity

Mr and Mrs Smith are remembered by many in Waltham Forest, and their influence can be seen in dedications around the borough, including Vi & Garner Smith House on Orford Road, home to the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom.

Although they did not become a wealthy couple, their work and dedication to people of many backgrounds enriched their lives, their son claims.

He said: “My parents died rich, but not in terms of money - they had nearly nothing, and lived in a housing association property still in Walthamstow.

“Rich due to their rich contribution to the town and its people, rich in how many lives and hearts they touched, rich in knowing they served their community.”