Tributes paid to council boss

By David LennardMEMBERS of the public have joined councillors and council officials to pay tribute to a former chief health and housing officer who has died suddenly.

By David Lennard

MEMBERS of the public have joined councillors and council officials to pay tribute to a former chief health and housing officer who has died suddenly.

James Johnstone, 72, collapsed and died at his home in Cliftonville Road, Lowestoft, on Thursday.

Mr Johnstone, who was known as Johnny, retired eight years ago following 47 years of public service. He joined Waveney District Council following the local government re-organisation in 1974.


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A minute's silence was held before the executive meeting of Waveney District Council at Lowestoft Town Hall on Thursday evening.

Council leader Brian Hunter paid tribute to Mr Johnstone, who worked tirelessly as a member of the management team in a role that made him second in command to the chief executive.

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“When you look round the district today, a lot of what you see is done with Johnny's influence and hard work. He took a great interest in everything he did,” he said.

Mr Hunter added everyone connected with Waveney District Council had been shocked at Mr Johnstone's death and his sympathies went to his widow Mary and family.

Malcom Berridge, who was chief executive for most of the time Mr Johnstone was at the council, paid him a warm tribute when he retired in 1995.

“He had an outstandingly successful career and the quality of his leadership enabled much to be achieved for the community of Waveney. His support as a colleague and friend were valued considerably,” he said.

Born in Scotland, Mr Johnstone started his career as a student sanitary inspector in Dumbarton, before working for 10 years as a health inspector in Uganda.

He came to East Anglia as a public health inspector in Colchester in 1962 and later moved to Ipswich as deputy chief public health inspector.

Mr Johnstone joined Waveney District Council in 1974 and was district environmental health officer.

Two years later he became the council's first head of health and housing when that department was established.

Lowestoft porcelain was one of his hobbies and in his voluntary work at Lowestoft Museum at Broad House he became something of an expert on it.

At the time of his death Mr Johnstone was working on an exhibition on the 1953 floods that is to be a centrepiece of the museum's displays this year.

He leaves a widow and two sons.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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