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Fans pay respect to MP who saved sport

PUBLISHED: 14:00 16 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 March 2010

WHEN speedway fans hold a two-minute silence before tonight's match between Ipswich Witches and Coventry, it will not just be in memory of the town's MP - to them Jamie Cann was the man who helped save speedway.

WHEN speedway fans hold a two-minute silence before tonight's match between Ipswich Witches and Coventry, it will not just be in memory of the town's MP – to them Jamie Cann was the man who helped save speedway.

During the dark days of the winter 1995-96, it looked as if the proud speedway tradition of Ipswich was coming to an end.

The Witches were threatened with eviction from the Foxhall Stadium until a campaign started prompted by The Evening Star and spearheaded by Mr Cann.

By attracting powerful local support the campaign gathered momentum, and eventually the sport was saved in January 1996.

Keith Rodwell has known Mr Cann for about 30 years, and was full of praise for his role in saving the sport.

"We are devastated to hear the news of his death, and our thoughts are all with his family, Rosie and his sons," he said today.

"He was very good for Ipswich as a whole – whatever your political views were.

"So far as the speedway is concerned we owe him a tremendous amount of thanks for all he did during the Save our Speedway campaign, he really made it all happen.

"He made all the difference and speedway fans in the area will never forget Jamie Cann," he said.

Another group with special reason to remember Jamie Cann are the hauliers whom he met during the fuel strikes last year.

In the aftermath of the protests, he arranged meetings between East Anglian hauliers and government ministers.

"We have lost a real friend today," said Paul Newton, of Horley Motors.

"I cannot praise Jamie enough. He understood our problems and worked very hard to help arrange meetings and sort things out for us.

"The East Anglian hauliers and the industry as a whole has lost someone of real integrity who was prepared to help us out as much as he could.

"We feel very sorry for his family and would wish to send our condolences to them. Jamie was a really good person," he said.

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