Suffolk: County’s Olympic ambassador reveals he will not take payments to give tours around the county

A council leader who was set to earn �300 a day as a tour guide for international journalists has announced he will not take the payment.

Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk council, was due to be paid the fee for every tour around Suffolk – up to a maximum of �10,000 – after being appointed Olympic ambassador.

Yesterday the Star revealed Mr Passmore was set to land a bumper pay packet - but he has now announced he will forgo the money and pledged to raise the profile of the county.

“The role of Olympic ambassador has the potential to make a significant difference to the economy of Suffolk,” said Cllr Passmore.

“Nothing should be allowed to detract from this which is why I’ve decided to waive the payments that have been offered to me to me as part of the role.

“My aim is to raise the profile of Suffolk across the world for the benefit of all our businesses and residents.”

The Conservative councillor’s appointment was made following a meeting of local authority leaders in Suffolk last September.

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His appointment drew criticism from Ipswich council’s leader David Ellesmere who admitted he still had concerns over the process of the appointment.

He said: “I think it’s good news that no money is being taken but I do still have concerns that there has not been an open process in the appointment for the ambassador.”

Mark Bee, leader of Suffolk County Council, believes the Olympics hold a key opportunity to promote the county.

“I’d like to commend Tim for putting the role before himself,” he said.

“2012 presents us with an unrivalled opportunity to promote Suffolk to the world but we have to capitalise on that opportunity.”

“Tourism is a �1.75 billion a year industry in Suffolk and the county council and Visit East Anglia will be working closely with Tim to make sure Suffolk secures a tourism boost from the Games.”

It has also emerged that Norfolk County Council have not appointed an Olympic ambassador while Essex County Council have 300 ambassadors, all who applied for the roles as volunteers.

n Does Suffolk need an Olympic ambassador? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN