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Ipswich: Family pays tribute after council leader’s father dies on Christmas Day

09:00 03 January 2014

Roger, David and Jean Ellesmere at a family celebration

Roger, David and Jean Ellesmere at a family celebration

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Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere and his family are in mourning after his father lost a long battle against mesothelioma on Christmas Day.

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Roger Ellesmere, 67, died at St Elizabeth Hospice during the early hours of Christmas Day after a long battle against the lung disease that is caused by exposure to asbestos.

He had moved to Ipswich with his wife Jean in 2000 and worked as a quantity surveyor with the Daniel Connal Partnership in Colchester until he retired at the age of 65.

David Ellesmere said it was not clear how he had contracted mesothelioma – but the condition can take 40 years to develop.

He said: “As a quantity surveyor my father did not work closely with asbestos – it was not as if he was working in an engineering plant in close proximity to it.

“When he was working in west Yorkshire there was a brake lining factory near his offices and that used asbestos – but it was certainly not a direct link.

“It was not possible to prove any link between that and his subsequent illness – certainly there were no grounds for going to court.”

David Ellesmere said his father had been involved in overseeing projects at historic buildings in Ipswich including Christchurch Mansion and Wolsey’s House in St Nicholas’ Street.

One of his last projects before retirement was doing preparatory work for the Holywells Park lottery bid, including the orangery.

Roger Ellesmere joined the Labour Party after moving to Ipswich and helped with addressing envelopes and supported his son in his bid to be adopted to fight the seat at the next general election.

During his retirement he had written a book about the British caravan industry between the wars.

As well as David, Roger Ellesmere also leaves his widow Jean and daughter Susan who had travelled from her home in Shetland to visit him shortly before his death.

Roger Ellesmere’s funeral will be at St Mary Elms church on Tuesday, January 7 – he was a member of the church and had played a major role in repairing it after a serious fire in 2010.

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