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Bungay mourns death of former reeve

PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 July 2010 | UPDATED: 09:54 01 August 2010

BUNGAY was this week mourning the sudden death of former town reeve and town council chairman Jim Jervis, who over the years had done so much to improve the town and its amenities.

BUNGAY was this week mourning the sudden death of former town reeve and town council chairman Jim Jervis, who over the years had done so much to improve the town and its amenities.

Although he had been in poor health for some time, he had continued with his many interests with courage and determination.

His death came at the height of this year's Bungay Festival, in which he had been heavily involved since its inception 21 years ago. The Bigod flag, which flies on the castle during the festival, has been lowered to half-mast in memory of him.

Many tributes were paid this week to a man who worked diligently for Bungay since moving to the town 40 years ago and a minute's silence was observed at the monthly town council meeting on Monday and at the Town Trust meeting on Tuesday.

Mr Jervis, who was 67, began his teaching career at Earsham Hall School in 1967 and three years later moved to Bungay Grammar School. He retired on health grounds in 1993 and shortly after underwent heart bypass surgery.

A rugby enthusiast, he enjoyed many seasons playing for Norwich and Beccles clubs and captained Beccles when they won the Norfolk Cup. He also played for Eastern Counties and Norfolk.

In 1981 he became a founder member of the Bungay Black Dog Marathon, first held in 1982, and the Black Dog Running Club formed immediately after that.

He was also a founder member of Bungay in Bloom, the tourism committee and the Bungay Festival committee - he had been involved in planning the third part of the festival ale trail and the Shakespeare at the Castle, which both went ahead this week, as his wife felt Jim would have wanted.

Elected to Bungay Town Council in 1984, he became chairman in 1988. He became a council feoffee on Bungay Town Trust in 1986, and in 1994-95 became the town reeve. During 1995 the Friends of St Mary's Church in Bungay were the beneficiaries of his fundraising as town reeve, and he later became vice-chairman of the Friends.

He was a keen supporter of the annual Brains of Bungay Quiz and a member of the Bungay Castle Trust and the Bungay Grammar School Trust. He was also an active member of the Labour Party and of CND.

After retirement as a teacher he became part-time manager of Bungay sports centre and was president of Bungay Cricket Club for a while.

Novel ideas he introduced to Bungay included the Chariots of Fire races round the town centre a few years ago, along the lines of the famous Liddell and Abrahams race at Cambridge, and the running races during the May Day Cycle races.

He will be remembered for his wit and humour and his sense of fun and also with admiration for the courage and determination with which he carried on in the face of his deteriorating medical condition, with the support of his wife Marlene. He suffered from Huntington's Chorea.

Simon Woods, mayor of Bungay, said: “Jim's passing is a terribly sad loss as an individual, as a member of the council, and as a contributor to the community. He will be very sorely missed.”

Jim leaves his widow, daughters Lynn and Anna, granddaughters Ella and Lauren, seven nephews and nieces and numerous great-nephews and nieces.

The funeral service for him will be at St Mary's Church, Bungay, on Thursday, at 10.30am.

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