Barnet’s longest-serving councillor and two-time mayor, Melvin Cohen, has died. His funeral and burial is scheduled for today (Thursday) in Israel.
Cohen, a Conservative, had represented the Golders Green ward continuously since 1982. He first served as mayor of Barnet in 2002-3, and in 2013 became the first councillor in 30 years to embark on a second term as the borough’s first citizen, selecting Kisharon as one of his beneficiary charities.
An alumnus of Hasmonean High School and then of University College London, Cohen also used his two tenures to raise thousands of pounds for the Mayor of Barnet’s Armed Forces Welfare Fund and the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice.
He was Barnet Council’s Cabinet member for Planning from 2004 to 2010 and was chairman of the Constitution and General Purposes Committee.
In May of this year, he was honoured for his 40 years of service to the Borough of Barnet at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the council at Hendon Town Hall and was awarded a certificate by the outgoing Mayor, councillor Alison Cornelius.
“Things have changed so much in 40 years,” he said at the time. “I preceded the age of technology and I guess I have been left a little behind, but I have enjoyed my time on this council over the years and I am really looking forward to the next four years.”
Barnet Council leader, councillor Barry Rawlings, said at the AGM: “Forty years’ service to your borough is truly commendable and, despite sitting on the other side of the aisle from Councillor Cohen, I’ve always found him to be a hugely respectful and hardworking councillor. He has worked diligently for his community and continues to do so, four decades is quite an astonishing feat and I’m glad I can be here to congratulate him.”
Councillor Daniel Thomas, leader of the Barnet Conservative Group also gave thanks to Cohen: “I have worked with Melvin for many years now and have been fortunate to have been able to learn from his depth of knowledge and experience. His dedication to his community and the borough is an inspiration and I know I can speak for all our colleagues in saying thank you and congratulations on 40 years of service to Barnet.”
Cohen’s funeral and burial are set to take place in Israel. He leaves behind two sons – Dean, a fellow Conservative councillor in Barnet, and Justin, who is the new-s editor and co-publisher of Jewish News.
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