August 1 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
A community stalwart – who was usually spotted in Bury St Edmunds wearing a flamboyant bow tie – wanted his home town to remember him as a “colourful character,” his family have said.
Mike Ames, 77, who was awarded a British Empire Medal in 2012 for services to the community in Bury St Edmunds, passed away in the early hours of yesterday morning.
His daughter Anthea Ames said he had just returned from his “paradise” in Spain at the weekend and died suddenly from an embolism on the liver at West Suffolk Hospital.
She said he had undergone a life-saving operation in 2012 which had given the family a “wonderful” extra two years with him.
She said her father wanted Bury to remember him as a “colourful character,” and to his family who knew him best he was “loving, supportive, encouraging and proud”.
“He was so proud of us all, his children and grandchildren. He took great pride in his family. And obviously he was a people’s person and he achieved so much for the town and the borough.
“He always said to us he wanted a celebration of his life and he didn’t want any tears.”
Mr Ames, who was married to Monica for more than 50 years, was pivotal in making Bury in Bloom the success it is today, and clocked up 25 years as chairman. Up until his death he had remained a committee member of the group, and he was also on the committee of the Bury Society.
Former Bury Society chairman Alan Jary described him as a “colourful character that we are all going to miss”.
“He was always in multi-coloured clothes and a coloured bow tie. He was Mr colour.”
Bury in Bloom co-ordinator Melanie Lesser described Mr Ames as an “inspiration”.
She said: “He will be sadly missed; his wisdom and enthusiasm for all things floral and his encouragement of young people within the town.”
She added: “He loved Bury St Edmunds and just wanted to put in everything he possibly could.”
Mr Ames, a devout Catholic, had been a teacher, finishing his career at St Louis Catholic Middle School.
Councillor John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “Mike was a very special man, who will be much missed and very fondly remembered by so many.
“Nobody will forget his long service to St Edmundsbury (including as our mayor and deputy mayor), everything he did for Bury in Bloom in particular, and his wonderful bow ties – amongst so many other good things.
“He leaves Bury St Edmunds, which he cared about passionately, a much more colourful place than before he found it, and a wonderful legacy for his many friends and family, who have our deepest sympathies.”
Mr Ames was also town mayor from 2005 to 2006.
Mr Jary added: “He was apolitical and so he didn’t belong to a political party. He was Mike Ames and campaigned for what was best for Bury St Edmunds. And he fought for it and fought strongly for it.”
Mr Ames leaves three children and four grandchildren. A funeral date has not yet been set.