Brave Ann is elected chairman

BATTLING a terminal illness has not stopped a county councillor becoming chairman of the Suffolk authority.The bravery of Ann Rodwell has been recognised by her fellow councillors after she was unanimously elected chairman at an annual meeting of the county council yesterday.

BATTLING a terminal illness has not stopped a county councillor becoming chairman of the Suffolk authority.

The bravery of Ann Rodwell has been recognised by her fellow councillors after she was unanimously elected chairman at an annual meeting of the county council yesterday.

Mrs Rodwell was first diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 2005 and a London hospital specialist has told her that it has spread to the lymph gland near the pancreas, it is untreatable, and the prognosis was for just a few more months of living.

After taking the oath of office at the meeting Mrs Rodwell was defiant.


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She said: “I know it must have been difficult for you to choose me but I say to you: I will be here in 12 months time.”

Public protection portfolio holder Joanna Spicer, who nominated Mrs Rodwell, praised her for the “fierce courage” in fighting cancer. She was seconded by Labour's David Lockwood.

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Mrs Rodwell, a Conservative, represents the Felixstowe Coastal division. She was first elected to the county council in 1977 and has served as chairman of the social services and the arts committees. She has also been a member of Suffolk coastal district council, Trimley St Mary parish council for 30 years, and Felixstowe town council., serving as mayor of Felixstowe in 2006.

At the same time as she was diagnosed with incurable cancer, her husband Gordon was told he had Parkinson's disease. However, he is as determined as she is to see out her year in office.

Andrea Hill, whose appointment as the county chief executive was mired in controversy because of the increase in the post's salary to £220,000, was unanimously applauded when she was introduced to her first meeting of the council.

Harold Mangar, the Ipswich Bridge ward councillor who resigned from the county Labour group last month in a row over the party's “failure” to recruit more minority ethnic councillors, has rejoined his colleagues. “I was told that I could not remain a member of the Labour Party if I excluded myself from the council group, and I still want my voice heard in the party.”

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