Kemp-Turner dies aged 97

A FOUR times chairman of Suffolk county council and the first mayor of Newmarket has died in Kent at the age of 97.

Graham Dines

A FOUR times chairman of Suffolk county council and the first mayor of Newmarket has died in Kent at the age of 97.

Paying tribute to Kenneth Kemp-Turner, former county chief executive Clifford Smith described him as the person who did most to make Suffolk a cohesive unit after the trauma of local government reorganisation in the 1970s.

“He helped the smooth running of the new authority when East and West Suffolk county councils and Ipswich county borough council joined forces in 1974.


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“He was incredibly energetic,” said Mr Smith. “He was humorous and had a light touch to go with it.”

Born in Yorkshire, Mr Kemp-Turner served with the Middlesex Regiment before moving to Suffolk in a civilian capacity for the Ministry of Defence.

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He became a private property and planning consultant and became a member of the management council of Lazards' Eastern Counties Unit Trust, which was set up to enable pension funds and charities to invest in a portfolio of quoted and unquoted small companies, mainly in East Anglia. He was also managing partner of Kemp Turner Container Leasing and a member of the Harwich Harbour Board.

He joined Newmarket urban council, serving as chairman, and was one of the stalwarts in the fight against overspill plans for the town which had been proposed by the Greater London Council and West Suffolk County Council.

Upon local government reorganisation, he was elected to the county and was its chairman from 1978 until 1982. In 1978, he laid the foundation stone for the expansion of the County Hall complex in Rope Walk, Ipswich.

He stood down as a county councillor in 1985, a year after being appointed a CBE in the Birthday Honours List. He has also been a deputy lieutenant of Suffolk.

Mr Kemp-Turner is survived by his widow Dee and two daughters. A family funeral will be held in Kent and a memorial service will take place later in Suffolk.

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