Tribute to legion stalwart
HE was a man who put his heart and soul in to the town- and now Ipswich is giving something back.Hundreds of mourners recently gathered at St Mary-Le-Tower Church in Ipswich to bid farewell to 88-year-old British Legion stalwart Reg Driver who died last month - just days before Remembrance Sunday.
HE was a man who put his heart and soul in to the town- and now Ipswich is giving something back.
Hundreds of mourners recently gathered at St Mary-Le-Tower Church in Ipswich to bid farewell to 88-year-old British Legion stalwart Reg Driver who died last month - just days before Remembrance Sunday.
Now, it has been decided that the new education and management building in Christchurch Park will be named after Mr Driver, a former borough councillor, in tribute to his memory.
During his life Mr Driver, of The Lawns, off Rushmere Road, Ipswich, served as president, chairman, poppy appeal organiser, and parade organiser for the town's Royal British Legion.
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He won respect for the campaign he ran with legion colleague Peter Thompson to have the names of those who died in the Second World War added to the cenotaph in Christchurch Park.
The education and management building, which is situated near the rear of Christchurch Mansion and overlooks the Cenotaph, is expected to be completed early next year as part of multi-million pound improvements to the park.
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Councillor Robin Vickery, the current chairman of the Royal British Legion and a close friend of the Driver family, came up with the idea for the centre to be named after Mr Driver.
Cllr Vickery said: “It will be quite an honour for him. I suggested it to the council as I thought it would be an opportunity to remember Reg.
“For years he was a member of the Friends of Christchurch Park and this centre is so near the war memorial, which he had so much dealing with over the years.
“Reg was an amazing man. He did so much for the town and the Legion. I am pleased my colleagues on the council have decided to honour his memory in this way.”
Mayor of Ipswich, councillor Inga Lockington, added: "Reg Driver was well known and well loved and served his country, this council and this town with distinction.
“He will be sadly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his widow, Peggy, the rest of his family and his friends."
The park's major restoration is being financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
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Born in Ipswich, Mr Driver served with the Royal Corps of Signals during the Second World War and was serving in North Africa when his unit was captured by the Germans. He spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps.
At the end of the war he returned to Ipswich and worked for the auctioneers and estate agents Knights in Diss and Stowmarket for many years.
He was elected to Ipswich Council in 1976 where he served as a Conservative councillor until 1990 and was group leader for a time.
Just two weeks before his death he was on the Cornhill in Ipswich for the parade by members of the Army Air Corps and had been helping with Remembrance Day preparations.
He died after suffering a heart attack during a routine hospital operation on November 6.