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‘He will be missed’: Tributes after death of former Ipswich mayor David Hale

PUBLISHED: 11:27 23 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:14 23 July 2020

During his mayoralty in 2009 David Hale (right) marked St George's Day with fellow Conservative councillor George Debman. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

During his mayoralty in 2009 David Hale (right) marked St George's Day with fellow Conservative councillor George Debman. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Former Ipswich mayor David Hale has died in hospital at the age of 74 – prompting tributes from across the political spectrum.

David Hale was seen as the image of a mayor by many people. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILDavid Hale was seen as the image of a mayor by many people. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

He was a Conservative councillor for Holywells Ward from its establishment in 2002 and had previously represented the St Clement’s Ward before boundaries were redrawn.

He was mayor of the town in 2008-9, during the time when a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition was in control at the borough.

A former senior fire officer, David was liked and respected by councillors from all sides and was regarded as a very fair chair of meetings when he was mayor.

He lived with his brother Peter in Severn Road. David had been treated for lymphoma, a form of cancer, for many years – but Peter said he remained active until a few days before his death. “David had been frustrated by the current situation like many people – he liked to get out and visit heritage railways across the country and couldn’t do that,” he said.

“But he developed an infection, was taken to hospital early on Monday and I got a call on Tuesday morning to say he had taken a turn for the worse.

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“He loved his council work and meeting people – and especially being mayor.”

David’s fellow Holywells councillor George Debman was a close friend for many years. He said: “He was a really good councillor and friend – and probably the best mayor we had. He had a good sense of humour. He was a very large chap and didn’t mind making a joke of that.”

David stood down from the council in 2012, but Mr Debman said he was still a very familiar figure in the streets around east Ipswich.

Former Conservative councillor Liz Harsant, who still represents the ward, said she was sorry to hear the news. “David was always such a kind, helpful man – he worked very hard for the voters,” she said.

And current Labour leader David Ellesmere said: “Everyone respected David for his hard work as a councillor and he would work with anyone for his voters. As mayor he was firm but fair – he ensured both sides were treated equally.

“And as a rather large chap he seemed to be everyone’s idea of the stereotype of a mayor. I think he liked that and the people he met did as well – he will be missed in Ipswich.”

Current Mayor Jan Parry said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of David Hale at this sad time. David made an important contribution to the community during his time as an Ipswich Borough Councillor and also as Mayor of Ipswich.”


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