Former Ipswich chief executive remembered at memorial service

Current chief executive Russell Williams and former council manager Rodney Cook arrive at St Mary Le

Current chief executive Russell Williams and former council manager Rodney Cook arrive at St Mary Le Tower for Jim Savage's memorial service. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mayors, council leaders, and officials from Ipswich council joined family and friends of former borough chief executive Jim Savage at his memorial service at St Mary le Tower in the town centre.

Jim Savage. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Jim Savage. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Mr Savage, who was chief executive between 1978 and 1989, died last month at the age of 87.

He had remained active in his retirement, serving as chairman of East Suffolk National Trust and other organisations who were represented at his memorial service. Among those at the service were many who had worked with Mr Savage at the borough including former senior council officials Rodney Cook and John Field and former mayors Bill Quinton, Peter Gardiner and John Mowles.

The service was led by the vicar of St Mary le Tower, Canon Charles Jenkin, and included tributes from his family, the borough, the Birkbeck Singers and the National Trust.

Ipswich Borough and Suffolk county councillor Peter Gardiner, a former mayor, paid tribute to Mr Savage’s achievements in his working life as a public servant for more than 40 years.

He said Mr Savage had moved to Ipswich in 1969 as deputy chief executive, and spoke of his pride at the improvements in Ipswich during his years in charge at the borough, including the opening of Crown Pools and the pedestrianisation of the town centre.

Mr Gardiner told how, as chief executive, Mr Savage had made a point of getting to know new members of staff, and used to set aside an hour every week to meet new recruits.

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The congregation heard of Mr. Savage’s contribution to the National Trust, especially during his eight years as chairman of the organisation’s East Suffolk branch.

There was also a tribute to Mr. Savage as a devoted and loving family man. The service heard how his family was always the most important thing in his life. He loved proof-reading the school essays of younger family members, and sent them back duly marked up – even if they were written in a language he didn’t speak!

Mr. Savage was also insistent of things being done in the proper way, and when he saw then Prime Minister Tony Blair on TV not wearing a tie when greeting a visiting foreign diplomat, he went straight to his computer to fire off a protest e-mail to Number 10!

Mr Savage leaves a widow, Jean, two children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.