Tributes to former mayor who changed face of town

IPSWICH: Former mayor Derek Warsop has died at the age of 82.

Mr Warsop first became a Labour councillor in the town in 1973. He lost his seat in 1976 but returned to the borough in 1980 and remained on the council until 1998.

He was mayor in 1987/88 and throughout his time on the borough he was a member of the development control committee – he helped push through many of the changes in the town during that time.

Mr Warsop came to Ipswich in 1963 to teach at Copleston School. He was a history teacher and remained at the school until he retired in 1986.

John Mowles worked with Mr Warsop on the council: “He was very keen on pedestrianisation of the town centre and pushed for it as much as possible.

“He was told that it was not possible because of the historic nature of the town, but he would not take no for an answer and kept on pushing. Today’s town centre is a tribute to him.”

Bill Quinton was a fellow councillor for Priory Heath ward: “He was a real gentleman, and when he had something to say you always listened because he always spoke such good sense,” he said.

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And he was held in high regard across the political divide. Senior Conservative councillor Russell Harsant said Mr Warsop’s contributions to council meetings were always very valuable.

“He wasn’t someone who would always toe the party line. When he spoke he usually managed to make a valid point – whether you agreed with it or not.”

Mr Warsop’s wife, Mary, died in 2006. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago but this had not stopped him from enjoying life.

His son David said: “He loved going on holiday to Provence and I was planning to drive him down to his caravan there as usual a few weeks ago before he became ill. He had been living with prostate cancer but thankfully this had not caused him too much pain and he carried on with his life as normal.

“He loved visiting France – he’d been there every year for the last 35 years. And he was instrumental in developing the links with Arras.”

Mr Warsop’s funeral will be at the West Chapel of Ipswich Crematorium at 11.45am on August 17. He leaves a daughter, Anna, as well as David.

n Do you want to pay tribute to Mr Warsop? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail