May Rose Hill (nee Franklin) and husband Jim joined the Communist Party in 1937 in Wood Green, to support the fight against fascism. During the war Jim, an electrician, was sent to Scotland to work in the Govan shipyards and May worked for the Communist Party in Glasgow; remaining in touch with their Glaswegian friends, the Browns and the Birdwisas for years.
They returned to London at the end of the war, and May put a deposit on a house in Highgate (from accident compensation) and had their three children. From August 1953, May worked for many years for the Daily Worker and Morning Star, starting as a stenographer, or copy taker, to the newsroom, then as secretary to David Ainley, Company Secretary, and to Len Cook, Production Manager; and as Events Organiser, National Bazaar Organiser, and International Bazaar Organiser (these three jobs concurrently). She wrote many reviews and articles and covered the children’s world peace festival in Bulgaria in 1982 for the paper.
She was for many years Mother Of the Chapel (chief shop steward) of the NATSOPA Clerical Chapel. When secretary of the paper’s Communist Party branch committee, she organised an exchange delegation of print workers between the Daily Worker and the Soviet Union.
She also arranged the purchase of the Daily Worker banner which has been on so many demonstrations over the years. The art work was by Harry Kennedy, machine room overseer, and the banner was embroidered completely by hand in Wales by Patricia John in 1961. When the paper changed its name, M Holt altered it to read Morning Star.
May Hill was the self-published author of “Red Roses for Isabel” and “George Sinfield; His Pen a sword”, the paper’s Industrial Reporter, who she worked with closely for 17 years.
When she reached the age of 99, she was too frail to read the paper, so she changed her subscription to a monthly contribution to the Fighting Fund, and a bequest.
She died peacefully at her Highgate care home on 23 Aug 2017, aged 102, mourned by her children, Carol, Franklin & Roger; her grandchildren Kayte, Emma, Jonathan & Sunny; her great grandchildren Aimee, Eve & Georgie.