Death of Leiston Labour stalwart Terry Hodgson after years of service
PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:09 11 June 2019
A former leader of Suffolk Coastal Council has died following a long battle with cancer - just two days after attending his last town council meeting.
A lifelong member of the Labour Party, Terry Hodgson, 72, from Leiston became leader of the council in 1995 after the Conservatives lost power at the height of the "Back to Basics" national controversy - sharing the top job with Liberal Democrat Christine Block during a four-year Lib/Lab administration at Woodbridge.
Mr Hodgson was brought up in Suffolk, he went to school in Yoxford, and worked at Sizewell A power station for many years.
He was elected to Suffolk Coastal representing his home town in 1983 and was also a member of Leiston Town Council.
Although he was very ill, Mr Hodgson was determined to attend the council meeting in Leiston last Tuesday, just two days before he died.
Colin Ginger has been a fellow Labour member of Leiston Town Council alongside Mr Hodgson for decades.
He said: "He was very well known in Leiston, everyone knew Terry and he did a great deal for the people of the town. It is very sad to know he has gone.
"He was not well, but he was determined to be at the meeting on Tuesday night. He said he felt quite bad - but nothing would keep him away."
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Mike Deacon knew Mr Hodgson since they joined Suffolk Coastal council on the same day 36 years ago. He said: "He was a very important member of the Constituency Labour Party - he was chair for several years.
"At Suffolk Coastal he was held in high regard by members across the political divide and was leader of the council at one stage."
Mr Deacon said that on a personal level he had lost a good friend who showed his bravery by turning up to the council meeting while gravely ill.
A statement from the party said: "Terry has been one of the most active of activists that Suffolk Coastal CLP has had the honour of having within its ranks.
"The enthusiasm and passion he had for his hobbies of cycling and rambling, matched with that which he displayed in various roles he held both in public office and as a committed Labour Party member.
"We extend our sincere condolences to his family. Terry is survived by his widow Linda, and three sons."
Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council: "I am saddened to hear of Terry's death. Although I did not know him personally, it is clear, from speaking to colleagues who knew him, that he was a man of strong convictions.
"He was dedicated to serving his community at both on Leiston Town Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council, where he was the joint leader between 1995 and 1999.
"People remember him as a vigorous, active and very vocal supporter of local democracy, who worked tirelessly for others during his time in office."