Friends and colleagues mourn passing of respected councillor
17:44 23 April 2014
Friends of Soham councillor John Palmer, who died last Thursday, aged 85, have paid tribute to the “best councillor the town has ever had”.
Cllr Palmer served on East Cambridgeshire District Council from 1990 to 2007 and 2011 to 2014. He was Councillor for Soham from 1990 to 2003 when he was elected member for Soham north until 2007. In 2011 he was elected councillor for Soham south.
Cllr Palmer, a former greengrocer, was responsible for founding the Soham and District branch of the Pony Club and also played a leading role in saving Soham chapel when it was threatened with demolition.
Close friend and fellow Soham councillor, Colin Fordham, described Cllr Palmer as a “Soham man through and through” and said he couldn’t remember another councillor who had done quite so much for the town.
He said: “He was a great man for Soham. He worked so hard for the town, he was the best councillor the town has ever had on East Cambridgeshire District Council.
“I can’t praise him enough for all that he has done. In his later years, I used to drive him in to council meetings and we became good friends.
“He was a quiet man but he always got his thoughts right and he would speak up passionately for whatever he believed in. He is a sad loss to Soham, he had a lot of fire in his belly to keep the town on the straight and narrow.”
A widower, Cllr Palmer is survived by his three daughters and son.
The chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council also paid tribute to Councillor Palmer.
Cllr Palmer served on many committees including being a long standing member of the planning committee from 1995 to 2007. He also served for prolonged periods on the licensing committee, grants committee, overview and scrutiny as well as East Cambridgeshire Forest Heath joint grants panel.
Councillor Tony Cornell, chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council said: “All members of the district council are deeply saddened by the news of John’s passing. As a fellow Soham councillor, I know how he worked hard for the local people he served.
“He was a member of many committees, sitting on some, such as planning for over a decade, at a time of tremendous growth and development in East Cambridgeshire. His contributions to the council over the years improved lives across the whole of East Cambridgeshire. He will be sadly missed by his councillor colleagues and his community. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”
His death will trigger a by-election for the Soham south ward, expected to take place within in the coming months.