One of the leading figures of Ipswich Council in the 1970s, 80s and 90s has died at the age of 89.

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Eric Grant was the Labour leader of the borough in 1975/76 and was twice mayor of the town – in 1979/80 and in 1985/86.

During his leadership of the council the Corn Exchange and Film Theatre opened as an entertainment venue, and part of the town centre was pedestrianised.

A teacher at Chantry High School, Mr Grant was a founder member of the newly-constituted Ipswich Borough Council in 1973 and was councillor in St Clement’s ward from when it was formed in 1979 until the boundary changes in 2002, when he retired from the authority. He was an active member of the National Union of Teachers, and was chair of Ipswich Labour Party in the 1970s.

Current Labour councillor John Mowles was appointed party agent when Mr Grant was chair. He said: “Eric was a very keen member of the Labour Party – and worked very hard for the town.

“He could be a stickler for the rules – but he was a very good listener and he achieved a great deal for the town.”

After his second mayoralty, Mr Grant became a member of the council’s development control committee and took part in many of the crucial decisions for the future of the town.

Mr Mowles said: “He was very interested in the development and the heritage of the town.”

His union work with the NUT was also very important to him – both Mr Grant and his late wife June were teachers and activists.

The couple were very keen on classical music and helped encourage musical societies and supported the town’s civic concerts for many years.

Mr Grant had been ill for several years and had been living in a nursing home away from the town.

However his funeral will be held in Ipswich, although the exact details have not yet been arranged by his family. He leaves three children.

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