Tribute to community hero

SPROUGHTON: In a few short years, a dedicated parish councillor made a real difference to the community in which he lived, a close friend has revealed.

He may have only been a member of Sproughton Parish Council for five years, but Richard Searle’s determination and dedication meant he achieved far more than could ever have been expected of him.

Simon Curl, chairman of the council, has spoken out about his colleague in the wake of his tragic death.

The 65-year-old died on Sunday having been involved in a car accident last week after suffering a heart attack at the wheel.

The chairman, who was also a close friend, said: “He just liked to get things done. Richard was a guy who said ‘I am going to do that’ and he did it.

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“He just couldn’t sit around doing nothing. He would get frustrated.”

It was Mr Searle, who lived in Samford Place, who oversaw the refurbishment of the Tithe Barn in Sproughton last year, working with the builder and architect to ensure the parish council’s vision came to fruition.

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“He was over there every day for four or five months,” said Mr Curl. “He also represented the residents on the Babergh Housing Panel and supervised works to the cemetery.”

A true community hero, Mr Searle instigated the annual Sproughton beer festival in 2009 and established the popular family discos held each term at the Tithe Barn. “Richard served for four and five years, but it seems like much longer. He did so much.

“He liked doing things for other people. He was at his happiest when he was doing something for individuals, for the community or for himself,” said Mr Curl.

The retired plumber tragically lost his wife, Gill, two years ago following an operation.

“I don’t think he ever got over his loss,” said his friend. “After her death, he filled his life with work in the community.”

Describing Mr Searle as a true character, he added: “Everyone will miss him, even those who only met him once.

“His death is a great loss to the community, to his family and to a number of individuals who knew him well.”

Mr Searle’s family have yet to make arrangements for his funeral.

n Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Searle? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or e-mail

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