Popular campaigner's life is celebrated

A CELEBRATION of the life of popular politician and campaigner Ann Rodwell was staged at a packed Felixstowe church.

A CELEBRATION of the life of popular politician and campaigner Ann Rodwell was staged at a packed Felixstowe church.

More than 500 people - including mayors and council chairmen and colleagues from across Suffolk - attended the service of thanksgiving at St John's Church.

Rev Robert Hinsley, vicar of St John's who conducted the service, said the gathering of family, friends and colleagues, was testament to the way Mrs Rodwell had touched so many lives and it highlighted her long life of public service.

Mrs Rodwell, who was chairman of Suffolk County Council and a former mayor of Felixstowe, died earlier this month after a three-year battle against cancer of the oesophagus.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr Hinsley paid tribute to Mrs Rodwell's “courage, bravery and determination not to give in until she could fight no longer”.

County council vice-chairman Charles Michell spoke about her courage and positive attitude throughout her illness, and her willpower which kept her going determinedly until the end.

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“Even in the last days of her illness she was still reading council papers and maintaining her interest until the end,” he said.

Mayor of Felixstowe Mike Deacon and leader of Suffolk County Council, Jeremy Pembroke, gave the readings and the Ven Geoffrey Arrand, Archdeacon of Suffolk, led the prayers.

Mrs Rodwell, 69, was born in Exeter and the family moved to Felixstowe when she was nine. She attended Langer Primary and the County Modern School (now Orwell High), where she was head girl, and taught Sunday school at St John's.

She and her husband, Gordon, were well-known in the Felixstowe area as partners in a funeral directors company until the late 1980s. She then managed a branch of a national limousine hire company until her retirement in 1991.

Mrs Rodwell, remembered during the service as strong-willed, forthright, and feisty, was one of the most experienced councillors in Suffolk - serving more than 24 years as a county councillor and before that as a Trimley parish representative.

She is survived by her husband, two children and four grandchildren.

Pay your tribute to Ann Rodwell - Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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