Kensington & ChelseaNews

‘Renaissance man” known all over Earls Court and Chelsea dies suddenly

By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter

The sister of a councillor has paid tribute to “Mr Earl’s Court” who would stop and chat to everyone he passed on the street.

It seemed Malcolm Spalding knew everyone in Chelsea and when he stepped into a restaurant he would spend hours chatting to diners.

Malcolm Spalding

The Earl’s Court councillor was 72 and died suddenly on March 12. His cause of death is unknown.

His sister Libby Rothwell described him as a Renaissance man with a silly sense of humour and always teaching his family about the wonders of the world.

She said: “Everybody knew him for many different reasons. Just walking down the street with him, you would be stopped by everyone. If he went into a restaurant everyone would know him.  Walking down the street, he would be teaching you about something. He loved London life.

“He loved formal occasions and dressing up in a black tie. He lived that formal style of life.

“We used to say why don’t you slow down [with his councillor duties] but he said he loved it. He always had projects on the go. He had many plans ahead of him.”

Malcolm had lived in Chelsea for over 50 years and gave all of his time to his community and family. He first moved to London as a young man after serving in the Royal Navy before attending Chelsea College. He became a secondary school teacher for 10 years before becoming a school head for another 30.

After retiring, Malcolm became a councillor in 2014, became vice-chairman of Grenfell Recovery and sat on many committees.

Libby added: “His public life and family life were quite different. He was very balanced and didn’t like personal attacks in politics. He worked very hard for his local community in many different ways. He was a very caring person.

“As a young man, he was always tinkering with old TVs and would always put on a magic show each Christmas.”

When he was a student, Malcolm fixed an old TV and gave it to a neighbour when he found out she was a single parent. Libby said this sort of behaviour was not uncommon for him.

Andrea Level, who worked with Malcolm on the Earl’s Court Society said: “I was grateful I had the chance to spend the afternoon with Malcolm just a week ago.  We walked around Earl’s Court for two hours in the rain showing council officers what makes our area special… It was textbook Malcolm. He was a local treasure.”

Malcolm’s council colleagues have paid tribute to the Tory politician. Councillor Johnny Thalassites tweeted: “Saddened by the death of Councillor Malcolm Spalding. Mr Earl’s Court: a champion of his local community.”

Council leader Elizabeth Campbell said: “It’s incredibly sad and we are thinking of his friends and family at this time. He was everything a local councillor should be, dedicating his time to serving the community in Earl’s Court and the wider borough every day. He will be missed by all of us.”

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