Barningham/Bardwell: Councillor John Hale dies aged 68

Councillor John Hale who died on June 28.

Councillor John Hale who died on June 28. - Credit: Contributed

A borough councillor from Barningham, near Bury St Edmunds, has died unexpectedly aged 68.

John Hale, St Edmundsbury Borough Councillor for Bardwell, passed away last Friday at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury after suffering a stroke.

His son Robert said he was taken ill the previous day when he was swimming at his health club.

“Obviously the whole thing has been a great shock. It’s a lot earlier than we would ever have expected to lose him,” he said.

He said his father had worked as a financial advisor and on retiring dedicated a lot of his time to being a councillor.

He said he was also a family man, who loved being with his grandchildren and was a supportive father to him and his sister Charlotte Bagshaw.

The grandfather-of-five, who was a Conservative councillor, and his wife Elizabeth had been married for 43 years this year.

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His son said: “I think his great loves were family, he loved his classical music, he loved wine, food and enjoying all of these things with friends and family.”

He said history was another interest of his father’s, and he also enjoyed holidays abroad.

He added: “He had a really good sense of humour and enjoyed a good joke and a story. He loved having discussions about either current affairs or politics or history.”

Mr Hale had been a councillor since 2002, with roles including chair of the performance and audit scrutiny committee.

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “I was very saddened both personally as a friend and a fellow councillor [at Mr Hale’s death]. John worked tirelessly for his ward and was a very committed councillor serving and indeed chairing several committees and outside bodies.

“He will be very much missed by us all and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”

Fellow councillors Joanna Spicer and her husband Christopher, who knew Mr Hale for many years, said they were shocked and saddened to hear of his death.

The funeral service is being held at St Mary’s Church in Rougham on Tuesday, July 16, at 12 noon. Everyone is welcome to attend.