Tributes to Nick Ridley – Suffolk hospice founder and community leader

Former Babergh council leader and hospice founder Nick Ridley. Picture: ARCHANT

Former Babergh council leader and hospice founder Nick Ridley. Picture: ARCHANT

Community champion and former council leader Nick Ridley OBE has died at the age of 82 after a short illness.

Mr Ridley, who lived at Sproughton near Ipswich, was one of the founders of the St Elizabeth Hospice in the early 1980s and continued to support it throughout his life. He remained president of the hospice until his death.

In 2003 Mr Ridley was elected to Babergh council and within a few years had become chair of its strategy committee, fulfilling the same role as the leader of other local authorities.

He remained a councillor, and was a member of Babergh’s cabinet until May last year when he was defeated in the new Orwell Ward. He was council chair after stepping down from the strategy committee.

He was awarded the OBE in 2005 for his services to the community in Suffolk and was also a magistrate for many years and a deputy lieutenant of the county.

Mr Ridley was also a former trustee of the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket and the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust, and an active trustee of the Lord Belstead Charitable Settlement, the Ganzoni Charitable Trust, and the Ipswich Chamber Music Society.

Babergh council leader John Ward said: “Nick was immensely loyal to me when I became leader and was a wise counsel. He had a wealth of local government experience and his contributions to debates in the council chamber were always thoughtful and informed and were listened to by all members.

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“One of the last times I saw Nick was when I canvassed with him in Chelmondiston for a day last year, finishing with a well-earned meal and pint in the Freston Boot. He enjoyed being a councillor and relished the campaign, but unfortunately he was not able to win the new Orwell ward. I will certainly miss him.”

Ian Turner, St Elizabeth Hospice Chair of the Board of Trustees said: “We were deeply saddened to hear of Nick’s passing and extend our deepest sympathies to his family. It is true to say that Nick was one of the founding fathers of the hospice and played a key role in the original fundraising appeal.

“He then successfully guided the direction and growth of the hospice for more than 20 years as chair, before stepping down to become president and remained a passionate supporter of the hospice and its work throughout.”

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