Former Ipswich council chief Jim Savage dies at home at the age of 87

Jim Savage was chairman of East Suffolk National Trust Association
in 2009.

Jim Savage was chairman of East Suffolk National Trust Association in 2009.

Ipswich Borough Council’s former chief executive Jim Savage has died at his home in the town.

Jim Savage in Ipswich town centre shortly before his retirement in 1989. Picture: ARCHANT

Jim Savage in Ipswich town centre shortly before his retirement in 1989. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Mr Savage, who was 87, was chief executive of the council from 1978 to 1989 and was at the helm during a busy period for the town which saw the opening of Crown Pools, sports centres, and major changes in the town centre with the opening of Tower Ramparts shopping centre.

Mr Savage was born in Chadwell Heath in 1930 and his family moved to Clacton in 1935. He was evacuated to Worcester during the war and up until his death was still in regular contact with a fellow evacuee.

He left school in 1945 and started work in Local Government at Clacton Urban District Council.

He did National Service between 1948 and 1950 serving in Berlin during the airlift, after which he returned home to Clacton where he re-started his career in Local Government.

There he met Jean to whom he was married for 64 years.

They moved to Stevenage in 1956. In 1969 Jim was appointed deputy chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council and the family moved to Felixstowe.

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In 1978, following the sudden death Bob Cross, Mr Savage was promoted to Chief Executive, a position he held until his retirement in 1989. The family moved to Ipswich in 1978 where they lived until the present day.

Mr Savage was keen on sport and played amateur football and cricket until a knee injury forced him to take up golf instead.

He was Captain of Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club in 1978 and Ipswich Golf Club (Purdis Heath) in 1987.

He was a season ticket holder for 38 years at Ipswich Town. He particularly enjoyed organising the Civic receptions for the winning teams in 1978 and 1981.

During his retirement Mr Savage was chairman of the East Suffolk branch of the The National Trust for eight years. He was also chairman of the local branch Citizen’s Advice Bureau for three years in the 1990s and the Friends of the Ipswich Museums.

He was a long-standing member of The Ipswich and Suffolk Club, The Ipswich Institute and Probus.

He leaves a widow, Jean, two children – Andy Savage and Kate Palmer Brewell – seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at St Mary le Tower Church at 2.30pm on September 4.

Tributes come in for former chief executive

Former colleagues and councillors have paid tribute to Jim Savage after his death was announced.

Clifford Smith was chief executive of Suffolk County Council during the 1980s while Mr Savage was at the other end of the town centre.

Mr Smith said his colleague’s integrity was total: “He was robust and he was fair in all he did. Everyone knew exactly where they were with Jim.”

John Field was project manager for the construction of Crown Pools which opened in 1984. He said: “Jim was a real gentleman and he was a stickler for detail – I remember when we were bringing in new seats in the town centre he was determined they should be in the right colour.”

Bill Quinton was mayor in the year Mr Savage retired. He recalled: “Before I became mayor he invited us to have tea to explain exactly what we would have to do. He wasn’t exactly laying down the law, but he did tell us what was expected!”