Former councillor ‘will be sorely missed’

Phillip French, former councillor for Haverhill Town, St Edmundsbury Borough and Suffolk County councils.
Phillip French, former councillor for Haverhill Town, St Edmundsbury Borough and Suffolk County councils.

Tributes have been paid to a dedicated and hardworking community leader who has passed away.

Phillip French was found dead at his home in Cambridge Way, Haverhill, on May 11 after a friend, who had been unable to reach him, contacted police to raise concerns.

His death, which occured two weeks ago, is not being treated as suspicious.

Mr French was a well known figure in Haverhill and had served as a councillor for many years – with the town council from 1999-2015, the borough council from 1999-2007 and 2011-2015, and with the county council from 2005-2013.

He was actively involved in a large number of groups and societies, including as secretary of Haverhill Association of Voluntary Organisations, member of Haverhill Partnership, governor of Westfield Community Primary School, chairman of Cambridge Way/Cambridge Close Residents’ Association, director of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, member of the Salvation Army and a ONE Haverhill board member.

Cllr Roger Andre, who worked alongside Mr French on the town council, said: “He was always a different voice with a unique contribution and will be particularly remembered for his work with the Salvation Army. He will be missed.”

Captain Valerie Morgan, commanding officer for the Haverhill Salvation Army Church, said Mr French and his late wife, Agnes, started going to the Salvation Army in around 2007 and became soldiers (members) in 2008.

She said: “He helped with our lunch clubs and with doing the power points for the worship on a Sunday and generally helped where he could. We’re missing him already - he was always very helpful and willing,” she added.

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said Mr French would be remembered with great affection.

He said: “Phillip worked hard on behalf of residents not just in Haverhill where he was elected, but across the whole of the borough and indeed he was formally recognised for his long service last year.

“He first served on the borough council from 1999 to 2007 and was then re-elected in 2011 before stepping down at the last election.

“During his 12 years with us he served on various committees including Development Control, Overview and Scrutiny and the Grants Working Party, and he was also a council representative on a number of boards relating to Abbeycroft, Havebury and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

“I am sure that I speak for all my fellow councillors and staff when I say that we are very sad to hear of the death of our former colleague and that Philip will be both missed and remembered with great affection.”

Fellow Haverhill councillor Tony Brown said Mr French was ‘involved in everything’ and always seemed ‘extremely hard working for the town’.

“He will be sorely missed,” he added.