Ipswich: A true hero of Ipswich - tributes to a great man who dedicated his life to others

IPSWICH: Fond tributes were today paid to the “great man” behind a charity walk which has raised more than �1.3million for good causes across Suffolk and beyond.

Derek Jarman was one of the founding members of the Rotary Club of Ipswich East and dedicated much of his life to helping others.

The 84-year-old, who died on February 28 after a battle with prostate cancer, was awarded an MBE for his outstanding charity work in 1999.

Ipswich mayor John Le Grys described Mr Jarman as “one of the greatest charity supporters” Ipswich has ever known.

“Derek worked tirelessly to make the Orwell Walk the success it is today and he was a man of whom Ipswich can be rightfully proud. He will be missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Mr Jarman, who used to own Jarman’s Hairdressers in Northgate Street launched the Orwell Walk in the mid 1970s after drawing inspiration from his love of walking, having trekked the Himalyas.

The event quickly became the club’s biggest annual fundraiser.

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His son John, 55, said: “He was an amazing man who never had a bad word to say about anybody. He went out of his way to help anybody, whatever their creed, colour or background. Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer several years ago. He was no more upset with the diagnosis than he would be if he missed a bus. His attitude was that it was a nuisance but he carried on. It was remarkable.”

Recalling his father’s passions in life, John said his father was a talented artist and sculpture.

Among the highlights of his artistic career was carving the candle holders for St Paul’s Cathedral, which were first used at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981.

As well as his outstanding charity work, the home Mr Jarman shared with Delphine, his wife of 60 years, in Chelsworth Avenue was always open to those in need.

His son John added: “Around 20 years ago a Belgian girl, Katty Rousseau, came to stay with mum and dad because she was having problems at home. She has become part of the family, like an adopted sister to my brother Pete and me and a real tribute to dad’s willingness to help anyone.

“He was a real family man and just adored his grandchildren, Jenny and Katherine.”

As well as his work with the Rotary Club, Mr Jarman was involved with Meals on Wheels, the Neptune Sailing youth group and the Beacon Hill Youth Group.

Mr Jarman’s body has been donated to the Medical School of Cambridge University so there will be no funeral. However, a ceremony to celebrate his life will be held at St Mary’s Church, Witnesham, at 11am on March 26

n Pay your tributes to Mr Jarman. Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk