Tributes to former Labour councillor and local hero Ron Snell

Ron Snell(centre) looks at the plans for the refurbishment of Stowmarket library with fellow council

Ron Snell(centre) looks at the plans for the refurbishment of Stowmarket library with fellow councillors Duncan Macpherson and Kathy Pollard in 2005. Picture: ARCHANT

Former Labour councillor Ron Snell has died at the age of 86 – prompting tributes from his family and former colleagues.

Mr Snell represented Stowmarket Central on the council while it was still based at the old County Hall building in St Helen’s Street in Ipswich and was a member when there was a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition in power. He was a county councillor from 2001 to 2005.

Bryony Rudkin was Labour leader of the council and said Mr Snell was a true community champion: “Ron worked absolutely tirelessly for Stowmarket and everyone in the town seemed to know and like him – he made sure that it was well represented and made a huge difference to the town he loved.”

Among the projects he championed was renewing the town’s library alongside fellow Stowmarket councillor Duncan Macpherson.

Mrs Rudkin added: “It wasn’t just on the council projects like that. I once talked to Ron and he said that every day he and his wife Thelma would share tea and toast with their elderly neighbour to make sure they weren’t lonely. That’s the kind of person he was – caring deeply about people.”

Politics ran in the Snell family’s blood. His grandson Gareth moved from Stowmarket to Keele University in Staffordshire and eventually became MP for Stoke on Trent Central in a by-election in early 2017. He lost the seat in last December’s General Election, but remains a key figure in Labour politics in the area.

MORE: Former Stoke MP Gareth Snell’s Suffolk roots

Gareth Snell said: “My grandfather was on Mid Suffolk Council for many years and also served as Mayor (of Stowmarket). It was never possible to go for a quick trip to the shops with him – there were always people who wanted to talk to him or ask his advice. As a child I remember him going out to meetings every night of the week sometimes. He was always doing work in the community.

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“As well as his council work he was also a keen Trades Unionist. He retired 20 years ago but he was still active in the retired members section of the Transport and General.”

Mr Snell died at the West Suffolk Hospital on October 9. His death was reported to the annual meeting of Suffolk County Council last week and members observed a minute’s silence in respect to him and fellow former Labour councillor Don Smith who also died earlier this month.

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