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Inspiring leader honoured by her neighbours with commemorative bench in her memory

PUBLISHED: 18:09 12 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:10 12 May 2018

More than fifty people gathered outside Halesworth Library for the bench unveiling. Picture: Jacob Massey

More than fifty people gathered outside Halesworth Library for the bench unveiling. Picture: Jacob Massey

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A "remarkable leader" who left an indelible mark on her town has been honoured with a commemorative bench in her memory.

Michael Imison unveiled the bench. Picture: Jacob MasseyMichael Imison unveiled the bench. Picture: Jacob Massey

Tamsyn Imison died last September, aged 80, having had impact through her work as leader of Halesworth in Bloom, combining the organisational skills she acquired during her career as a headteacher with her passion for gardening.

Mrs Imison is credited with guiding the quaint Suffolk market town to numerous awards, including the Best Small Town in East Anglia in 2015 and a first Green Flag award for the town park in 2016.

Her legacy is plain to see, with resplendent gardens and flower beds lining the streets of Halesworth.

The town’s love for Mrs Imison was equally palpable at the unveiling of the bench on Saturday (May 12), as young and old huddled outside the library.

Tamsyn Imison with the award after Halesworth won small town category in the Anglia In Bloom competition. Picture: Nick ButcherTamsyn Imison with the award after Halesworth won small town category in the Anglia In Bloom competition. Picture: Nick Butcher

Addressing the crowd of about 50 people, Ruth Walker, minute secretary at Halesworth in Bloom, said: “Many, many people were inspired by Tamsyn.

“Her energy and ability to engage built a community with a common purpose.

“She is remembered with love and affection by all of us.

“It’s hard to believe her life force isn’t with us anymore. Many times since she passed I have been in situations where I’ve thought ‘if only Tamsyn was here’.”

Michael Imison on the new bench honouring his late wife. Picture: Jacob MasseyMichael Imison on the new bench honouring his late wife. Picture: Jacob Massey

At that, the crowd bellowed three rousing cheers for Mrs Imison before Michael Imison shared a few words about his late wife.

He said: “I think if Tamsyn was here, she would say she was the catalyst - a remarkable leader, but a leader has to have troops.

“This town has become a haven for floral excellence, it is looking as lovely as ever. The seed has been planted and it will grow and grow.”

Mr Imison then did the honour of unveiling the bench to warm applause from the town.

Tamsyn Imison participating in a litter picking project. PHOTO: Nick ButcherTamsyn Imison participating in a litter picking project. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

A small flower bed has also been founded in her honour.

On top of her impact through Halesworth in Bloom, Mrs Imison also ran a successful campaign to save the station barrow crossing and was a passionate advocate of providing comprehensive education to all children, editing a book on the subject in 2013 titled Comprehensive Achievements: All Our Geese are Swans.

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