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Tributes paid to 'hard working and dedicated' Mildenhall community leader John Barker

Tributes have been paid to a ‘committed and hard working’ community leader in Mildenhall who has died aged 85.

John Barker served on Mildenhall Parish Council for 40 years – one of the authority’s longest serving councillors – and was involved in many aspects of community life.

“John was very committed to the community,” said parish and district Cllr Nigel Roman. “If you asked him to do a job, you knew it was done properly.”

John Barker. Picture: Mark Westley. (7635922)
John Barker. Picture: Mark Westley. (7635922)

Born in Ipswich, John received a scholarship aged 11 to attend Ipswich School, where he developed a love for rugby – a sport which gained him many friends in countries including France, Spain and Argentina.

He met his wife Pat, a teacher, in the early 1950s and they married in 1957 at St Margaret’s Church, Lowestoft. They lived in Ipswich for a short time before moving to Beck Row in 1964 and Mildenhall in 2000.

During John’s working life, his occupations included insurance, teaching, sports reporting and a regional officer with the Electrical Traders Association.

Pat, 84, said: “It was a job that required considerable travelling which John has always enjoyed.

“He was very community minded and knew everything that was going on.”

If you asked him to do a job, you knew it was done properly - Cllr Nigel Roman

John first became a Mildenhall parish councillor in 1969 and stepped down in 2017.

He represented the parish on the board of the Suffolk Association of Local Councils and worked with the National Association of Local Councils.

John served on committees at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, ran the Mildenhall Messenger from 2004 to 2014 and was a prolific correspondent for the Bury Free Press.

He was also a member of Mildenhall Community Partnership.

David Wheeler, chairman of the partnership, said John was involved in setting up a multi-use games area behind the parish council building.

He said: “John was a very dedicated man. To my knowledge he never missed a meeting for the community partnership.”

Ruth Bowman, parish council chairman, added: “Those that served with John at the parish will remember him as a dedicated councillor who worked hard on behalf of the local community.”

His funeral is at Seven Hills Crematorium in Ipswich on Tuesday, March 19, at noon.

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