Tributes to 'people's champion'
THE death of a much-loved "champion of the people" has left a Suffolk community in mourning – but those paying tribute yesterday said the former mayor's legacy would live on.
By James Mortlock
THE death of a much-loved "champion of the people" has left a Suffolk community in mourning - but those paying tribute yesterday said the former mayor's legacy would live on.
Sylvia Cann, a prolific campaigner for the rights of the residents of Sudbury, died at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, on Tuesday from respiratory problems following a long battle against ill health.
The town hall flag flew at half-mast yesterday as a mark of respect for the contribution she made to life in Sudbury during a career in local politics, which spanned four decades.
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Tributes have poured in from former colleagues at Sudbury Town Council, who said they would never be able to forget the lively contribution to debates made by Mrs Cann.
John Sayers, current mayor of Sudbury, said: "I personally knew her for years, she was a dramatic and outspoken character who was a champion of the people she served.
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"Sylvia was passionate about local affairs and really fought for the needs of the people in the town, especially in respect of housing."
Mrs Cann joined the town council in 1974, but resigned her position the next year. The staunch socialist made a dramatic return to local politics when she was elected back onto the council as a member for Sudbury East in 1979.
Her eventful career on the town council continued for the next 24 years. Mrs Cann eventually stood down from her active role in local politics last year.
Long-serving town councillor Sylvia Byham also paid tribute to her formidable former colleague.
She said: "I worked with her for years, she always picked-up the gauntlet to fight for the people she represented and no-one can take that away from her."
Graham Gardner, who was mayor of Sudbury in the 1980s, said: "Mrs Cann was a councillor for the people who cared greatly about her constituents."
In an interview on the eve of her departure from local politics, Mrs Cann said she was proud of having been elected to serve the people of Sudbury.
"It has been very exciting. I think I have put more into life than I have taken out of it, and you cannot do more than that."
Mrs Cann, who died aged 73, is survived by her husband Bryan, two sons and a daughter. A cremation and full civic remembrance service will take place at a later date.