Tributes to community man, Tom

TRIBUTES were today paid to a former Felixstowe mayor who gave sterling service to his community - and led two of Suffolk's biggest and most successful charity appeals.

TRIBUTES were today paid to a former Felixstowe mayor who gave sterling service to his community - and led two of Suffolk's biggest and most successful charity appeals.

Tom Savage, who served as a county, town and district councillor, has died at the age of 74.

He enjoyed a varied life - from promising young footballer with Spurs in his youth and later player-manager with Ely Town, to a career as secretary of Felixstowe port, one of the prime movers behind the dock's growth into Britain's top container terminal.

But for many he will be remembered as the man who spearheaded the appeals to buy the CAT scanner for Ipswich Hospital and to build the St Elizabeth Hospice.

Mr Savage collapsed and died at his home in Manor Terrace, Felixstowe, at the weekend.

His wife Daphne said the family had been inundated with messages of sympathy and support, many people expressing their tributes and memories of his life in the town.

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She said: “It's been a great shock. One minute he was well and the next he had collapsed.

“People have been lovely - many have written and spoken of Tom as thoughtful, kind and caring, and that's not a bad epitaph to have.”

Town clerk Susan Robinson said Mr Savage had had a “very distinguished career in public service”.

She said: “His work for charity was remarkable, too, and the success of the appeals for the cancer scanner and hospice were a triumph for community fundraising.”

Mr Savage and his former wife Doreen led the appeals, both of which raised £1m - a huge sum in the 1980s.

Former Felixstowe mayor Cyril Webb said: “Tom always worked hard for the town - if there was a project needed doing he addressed it very well, and had a big impact.”

Mr Savage moved to the resort in 1967 and took up the post of secretary of Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company a year later, working for the port for 30 years and being a key figure during its rapid growth and in the work to build Trinity Terminal, the country's biggest container quay.

He was elected to Felixstowe Town Council in 1979 and served as mayor in 1982.

A father and grandfather and a man with a strong Christian faith, he was a fervent campaigner on many issues, with enormous energy, and never afraid to speak his mind - though he grew increasingly frustrated at what he saw as the lack of power of councillors compared with their officers and withdrew from politics in the early 1990s.

Pay your tributes to Tom Savage - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk