Remembering 'Mike' and his amazing story

HE was a former mayor of Ipswich, a respected lawyer and the saviour of one of the country's oldest golf courses.

Josh Warwick

HE was a former mayor of Ipswich, a respected lawyer and the saviour of one of the country's oldest golf courses.

But today, as tributes were paid to Walter Mulley following his recent death, the details of the 99-year-old's fascinating life can finally be told.

Mr Mulley, fondly remembered as a dedicated servant of Suffolk, spent much of his professional career as a partner at law firm Jackaman, Smith and Mulley, based in Northgate Street, Ipswich.

A decorated Second World War RAF flight lieutenant, he was mayor of Ipswich in 1972/73 after being elected as a councillor for Bixley ward and as alderman of the borough.

Before he retired in 1978, Mr Mulley, known to his friends as Mike, was awarded a CBE for his significant contribution to the water industry, having been one of the key protagonists in the development of the Alton Water reservoir in Stutton.

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In addition to those accolades, Mr Mulley was also held in high regard by members of Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club, an organisation which he helped save in the years after the war.

Ann Modder, a friend of 60 years, described Mr Mulley, who died on October 25, as a “great man”.

“He did so much in his life,” she said.

“He was such a well-liked man, a great friend to a lot of people.”

Mr Mulley began his legal career in Ipswich in 1926 as an article clerk at HSB Jackaman. After excelling in his law society exams, he left Suffolk for the bright lights of 1930s London.

But when war broke out in 1939, Mr Mulley volunteered to fight for his country.

He served in the RAF and earned campaign medals for his gallantry in North Africa and Italy.

After Hitler's fall, he opted to return to Ipswich - and to law - and in 1947 he became a partner at Jackaman, Smith and Mulley.

Under his stewardship, the established firm prospered to such an extent that it was able to open a Felixstowe practice in the resort's Hamilton Road.

In 1958, Mr Mulley managed to acquire the freehold of Oak House, the Tudor property in Northgate Street from which the Ipswich branch has operated ever since.

A regular at the Ipswich and Suffolk Club, Mr Mulley, of Henley Court, was married twice but leaves no children.

- Would you like to pay tribute to Walter Mulley? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Mr Mulley's association with Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club:-

WALTER Mulley's name will forever be entwined with the Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club.

Founded in 1880, it is the fifth oldest in the country.

But were it not for Mr Mulley's efforts, the club may not be around today.

During the war, the picturesque course fell victim to the demands of the Allies' effort and was transformed into a base for troop training.

But after Germany's surrender, the club was resurrected - and it was all thanks to two men: Walter Cross, a local builder, and Mr Mulley.

At a meeting to re-establish the club in May 1948, a decision was taken to award the influential position of chairman to Mr Mulley, one of the trustees appointed by the course's proprietor.

Under his control, the club was christened Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club, subscriptions were fixed at the very modest level of two guineas for gentlemen and one-and-a-half guineas for ladies, a management committee was elected and rangers were employed at weekends to see that no damage was carried out by intruders.

Mr Mulley remained a trustee until he died.

Mike Wootton, a former captain of the golf club, said: “Had it not been for Mr Mulley, we would not have had a golf club in Felixstowe.

“He and Walter Cross came together and put the club back in playing order.”

A keen golfer, Mr Mulley was the only club member since the war to be elected captain more than once - in 1951 and 1954.

Meanwhile, the annual nine-hole club cup still bears Mr Mulley's name after he donated the trophy 11 years ago.

Mr Wootton said: “I used to take him down to the club for fish and chips on a Friday lunchtime which he really enjoyed.

“He had his finger on the pulse and took a great interest in the club and its affairs.

“He was such a modest man but when you got him talking it was fascinating to listen to him.

“I remember he told me that just before the war he found himself in Germany and in the same room as Hitler. Everyone else was doing the Nazi salute but Mr Mulley refused.

“But he said he felt something sharp pushing against his back so he thought he had better do what the others were doing!

“He was a super guy. It was so interesting to speak to him.

“There was no sense of 'I did this, or I did that'. You really had to prize things out of him.”