In Loving Memory of

Maxine James

Maxine Marie James

6th August 1957 – 19th August 2021

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Maxine Marie James.

Maxine was a true child of the Windrush Generation.  Born in Kingston Jamaica, she joined her family in England at the age of 12.  She lived and went to school in Birmingham before moving to London to begin her working life in administration. She decided to further her education and obtained a Higher National Diploma in Business followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Economic Development. She was a member of the Institute of Management Consultants.

Maxine was a trailblazer.  In 1983, she co-founded Equinox Consulting, a management consultancy set up to promote economic, social, and political advancement for people of African and Caribbean descent. She organised training programmes and carried out ground-breaking research projects that shed light and found solutions to the seemingly intractable problems facing inner city and disadvantaged communities. She was an ardent champion of equality to make this country a better place

Maxine worked extensively across businesses, local governments, communities, health and education sectors.  She was a treasurer at VOUCH UK, a charity for Jamaican children and a former chair of Haringey Refugee Consortium. She served as the community and business forum representative on Brixton Challenge Board, which was set up following the 1981 riots to regenerate Brixton.  She was a former director of Business Link London Central, the Brixton Challenge Company Ltd and Haringey Refugee Consortium Ltd.  She led on procurement issues on the Board of the Ethnic Minority Business Forum, which advised the Small Firms Minister in the then Department for Trade and Industry (DTI).  She was a former director of Black Roof Community Housing Association, the Southeast London Community Foundation, and a Non-Executive Director of Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. She was a governor of a primary school in Lambeth and she was a former chair of the BME Leadership Forum, which was sponsored by the NHS Confederation and the Royal College of Nursing. 

A passionate campaigner and activist, Maxine was an active member of the Labour Party for more than 20 years.  She held several positions, most recently as chair of Streatham Constituency Labour Party – the first Black woman to hold this position in Streatham.  She established the very first Labour Party Ethnic Minorities Forum in the UK, providing a template for other CLPs to follow.  At the time of her passing, Maxine had just been elected to the London Labour Regional Executive Committee.

A devoted and loving life partner to William and proud mother to their daughter Kabuki Tayo whom she nurtured, Maxine leaves behind a brother, aunt, many cousins, nephews, nieces, colleagues and friends who love her and will sorely miss her. Her vivacious and caring spirit touched and impacted many.

She would want us to continue her struggle for the causes she strongly believed in: committing to the service of others, creating opportunities and improving lives.

She gave love to many and is loved by many. We will miss her.

May her soul rest in eternal perfect peace and power.

Book Owner: William & Kabuki Tayo Ward-Brew
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Robert Hill

It was a great shock to learn of Maxine’s departure. I have known her for a long time through the Labour Party, and had encouraged her to become a member of Streatham Action Committee, where I am Chair. She agreed and was voted on to the committee in this year’s election. I was hoping that Maxine would fire up Streatham Action in the same way she fired up Streatham Labour Party. She was at the forefront in making sure we all lived in a equitable society and fought hard for people’s right in Streatham and further afield. She will be sadly missed. In addition to my own, may I pass on the condolences of members of Streatham Action Committee and of the members of Streatham Safer Neighbourhood Panels. She will be dearly missed. …

Matilda Sackey

You will be missed by so many people whose lives you have touched over the years. It was a pleasure to work with u and Ade in the late 80s. You were an inspiration. Rest in Peace, Maxine xxx …

Maxwell Vardon

The Mysterious Postcard came from Russia, despatched by a new acquaintance enchanted by Maxine on a brief stopover in Moscow on her return to the UK from visiting Accra, Ghana. Thus was born the legend of Comrade James; ‘stirred by deep passions but rarely shaken‘. Licensed to Thrill, she was the big sister our daughter Emefa never had, taking her Skating, Picnicking, Ice-Creaming and generally hanging out doing the most exciting and exhilarating things a young lady might want. Apart from Maxine and I sharing similar First Names, our Family ties had other unusual coincidences; like Maxine sharing her birthday with our son Alex, while her mother also shared a birthday with his mother, whose brother has the same name as Maxine’s brother and read similar subjects in college. A coincidence of outlook led Comrade James, Ade Sawyerr and I to set up Equinox Consulting nearly 40 years ago, to fight for Equality, Equity and (Socio-Economic) Enfranchisement, which she prosecuted with dedication, humanity and eloquence. Today we bid Farewell to a Great Warrior, who even now, as in life, offers inspiration and an allowance that encourages the best from people. Comrade Maxine Marie James, you came From Russia With Love, …

Christiana Hyde

Maxine, a very dear and special friend. I will never forget the cold fear that crept over me when Maxine responded to my belated birthday message to say she was in hospital and when I then read her description of her condition.  She was, as usual for Maxine, very positive and expressed her utter confidence in the clinicians treating her.    In this too, she showed unfailing courage. How do I capture in a few words the memories of a 35-year friendship while still struggling to accept that there will be no more?  I will miss so many things about Maxine. We shared many fun and happy times, most of them in the earlier years of our friendship until I let life get in the way.  But I cherish the memories of our last two meetings in West Norwood and Streatham.  We knew each other well enough that even if we hadn’t seen each other for a while, we just picked up from where we left off. Hugging, chatting and enjoying each other’s company. Right up to the end we were members of each other’s support networks. Maxine, you were a shining example of how to maintain the balance between …

Carol Campayne

It’s taken me sometime to put my deep sadness in losing you Maxine. In thinking about you I believe that you were sent by the Lord to open the door to my purpose and what I do today. Thankyou isn’t enough. You gave me my very first shot in fighting for equality, justice and a better world. My pain is I never got to say thank you and took you being here forever for granted. You ran a good race, and fought a good fight. Rest in Him. Your legacy lives on. Bless you Carol …

Diane Foster

I met Maxine as Tayo and Evie were at the same secondary school Nonsuch High School in Cheam. She was the friendliest person, always smiling and laughing and would always make time for everyone. Evie was so at ease with the whole family and shared many happy times with Tayo, William and Maxine over the years as they welcomed her with open arms. May you keep fondest memories in your hearts forever as Maxine will never be forgotten. May she rest in peace. With deepest and sincerest condolences from us all. Love Diane, John and Evie Foster xxxx …

Joanna Reynolds

  Dear Maxine You will be so missed by all in Clapham Common ward. You achieved so much. All our love and sympathy goes to your family.     Joanna Reynolds   …

David Oxley

So shocked and sad to hear this tragic news. I only knew Maxine through the meetings of LCF, but she left a such a great impression on me.   A good person, keen to help others, so full of life and energy!  May Maxine’s soul now rest in eternal peace. …

Sergius Ephson

L. Sergius Ephson Dear Maxine, I am shocked and saddened to hear of your passing. So many happy memories of working with you and Ade, on weekends delivering courses to Black and Ethnic Minority classes all over London. Though we lost contact in later years when I moved from Enhland, I always remember your sense of humour, kindness and commitment with fondness. You were a great companion, you have left me and others ( Trainees and Trainers from the courses you and Ade organized) with many memorable moments working together. Thank you for sharing so much. May your soul rest in eternal peace. …