Tributes to man of talent and laughter

A POPULAR joker who served in three war zones, charted the history of Ipswich police and went on to run the town's tourism service in an action-packed life has died.

A POPULAR joker who served in three war zones, charted the history of Ipswich police and went on to run the town's tourism service in an action-packed life has died.

Ronald Chidgey spent nearly three decades in Ipswich and touched many hearts along the way with his infectious laughter and sharp wit.

The former health and safety worker for Ipswich Borough Council moved to Stoke Park with his family in 1968 and over the next 30 years made a massive contribution to the town.

He worked in the health and safety field for a private firm before joining the council where he worked as a health and safety officer.


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Mr Chidgey, a grandfather-of-four who died on July 27 aged 67, became the manager of Ipswich Town Tourism in 1994, where he was renowned for being a fun-loving boss.

Ipswich Borough Council tourist information officer Gayle Read worked with Mr Chidgey at the tourism office.

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She said: "He was a lovely man, full of laughter and fun and very popular with his colleagues and the public.

"Everyone loved him. I remember once at Christmas he bought a magician's box of tricks for one of his family but he insisted on opening it and showing all the customers the tricks."

Outside of his work for the council, Mr Chidgey was involved in Stoke Park Boy Scouts and, during the 1960s and 1970s, the Stoke Park Residents' Association.

He was also the chairman of the Colchester bench of magistrates and occasionally heard cases in Ipswich.

While completing a business studies course at Ipswich College in the 1970s Mr Chidgey developed an interest in the history of the area's police forces and in 1977 he wrote a book on the subject called 'The History of the Ipswich Police Force'.

His daughter Sandra Arthur said: "He was actually a great historian, he loved history.

"He was very talkative and full of knowledge."

She added: "He was a very charismatic person. He had a lot of warmth."

Mr Chidgey was born on March 6, 1937 in Southgate, London.

At 15 he left school and joined the Royal Air Force and was trained as an electrical technician.

In 1953 he was on parade for the Queen's coronation and during 28 years with the RAF he served in Cyprus, north Africa and Borneo, where he fixed radio systems in helicopters and aeroplanes.

He left Ipswich to live in Colchester in the late 1990s.

He died in St Helena Hospice, Colchester, after a two-year battle with prostate and bone cancer.

His funeral is to be held on Monday at 11.45am at Colchester cemetery.

Do you remember Ronald Chidgey? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk.

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