‘Committed’ councillor who spearheaded town’s coronavirus helpline dies suddenly
- Credit: NEWMARKET TOWN COUNCIL
Newmarket Town Council has paid tribute to the “intelligent, honest and committed” councillor Ian Kirk, who has suddenly died of a suspected heart attack.
Mr Kirk, who represented Scaltback, died on Sunday morning of a suspected heart attack after recently working at the core of the town’s coronavirus response.
Newmarket Town Council said it is “extremely shocked and deeply saddened” by the sudden death of the popular councillor, who was elected on to the authority in October last year after winning a town council by-election.
The town council said: “Ian only joined the council in October but in those few months he proved himself to be intelligent, reasoned, honest and committed, in addition to being a genuinely nice man. Our sincerest condolences go out to Ian’s family.”
Most recently, Mr Kirk was one of the first to volunteer in support of Newmarket Town Council’s Community Helpline set up just as the country was going into lockdown.
After a short period of time he became a co-ordinator dealing with the help requested from the calls received each day, setting up a rota, developing protocols, working closely with the whole team and attending regular steering group meetings.
Town Mayor Rachel Hood said: “We are all deeply shocked by the tragic and sudden loss of Councillor Kirk who had quickly made a valuable contribution to the work of the Town Council and the community. His work on the helpline has also been exemplary. He will be much missed by us all.’
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The town council said “his commitment, professionalism and measured approach will be missed”.
In a recent Facebook post, councillor Kirk had said that the town’s response to coronavirus had been “exceptional” and it is “one of the proudest things in his life to be associated with”.
Councillor Ollie Bowen, who represents the Studlands Park ward, said Mr Kirk was “one of those you can learn from” in a tribute to his colleague.
He said: “Sadly, today Newmarket lost an absolutely dedicated, intelligent and professional councillor.
“At every meeting when Ian stood up to speak, you looked forward to whatever he was going to say, because you could rely on it being an intelligent and concise contribution of value. He was one of those you can learn from.
“I hadn’t known Ian as long as many others have, but finding out that he passed away is still devastating. He was a good man and Newmarket was extremely fortunate to have him as a councillor.
The flag outside the Memorial Hall has been lowered to half-mast as a token of respect for Mr Kirk.