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Tributes to former mayor dubbed 'Mr Bungay' whose life was devoted to his community

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:44 24 November 2017

Arthur Fisher during his time as town reeve of Bungay. Picture: Archant.

Arthur Fisher during his time as town reeve of Bungay. Picture: Archant.

A former mayor and town reeve of Bungay, who was well respected as a hard working member of the community, has died aged 88.

Arthur Fisher and his wife Mavis during his year as town reeve of Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of Mavis Fisher.Arthur Fisher and his wife Mavis during his year as town reeve of Bungay. Picture: Courtesy of Mavis Fisher.

Arthur Fisher was a former employee at Clay’s printing works in the town, before becoming an ambulance worker and community car driver.

He had been in poor health for some time, and died at Adele House last week.

Current town reeve Mary Sprake said that it was with deep sadness the town learned of the death of Mr Fisher - a more than familiar face in the town.

“Arthur had taken on the positions of both town mayor and town reeve,” she said. “A vigorous member of many other organisations for many years, and a man who always had a kind word and a cheeky smile, he will be sadly missed.”

Arthur Fisher with the Maundy money he received from the Queen in 2009. Picture: Archant.Arthur Fisher with the Maundy money he received from the Queen in 2009. Picture: Archant.

Born at All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham, Mr Fisher initially lived in Pirnhow Street, and was educated at Ditchingham Primary School and later the Bungay Area School, before joining Clay’s at the age of 14.

During his 18 years’ service there, his keenness to help others began when he became secretary of the company’s National Graphical Association branch.

During that time he served his National Service in the Royal Artillery 71st Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, spending time in Egypt. He also became an active member of the town’s St John Ambulance division, and that led him to leave Clay’s to became a full-time ambulance worker, based at the Beccles ambulance station, in 1974.

For 10 years he served as the union representative there. When he retired from the ambulance service he became a driver for the doctors’ out-of-hours emergency service. He finally retired at the age of 75.

Mr Fisher became a popular and respected member of the community and of many organisations, to the extent that he was sometimes dubbed Mr Bungay.

A life-long member of the Labour Party, he became a Labour member of Bungay Town Council in 1970, and was elected chairman in 1995. Four years later he took the role again, this time as mayor, the council having elected to call the chairman mayor in 1997.

When the new Bungay Medical Centre was opened in the 1990s he became one of three trustees, and other roles he took on included the chairman of the annual Bungay Festival in 1999.

In 2000/2001, having been elected to Bungay Town Trust as a council feoffee in 1992, he became town reeve. He was a long-time supporter of All Hallows Hospital and the Friends of All Hallows, and one year took part in a sponsored bed push from the hospital to Ipswich, to raise funds.

He ran the ambulance benevolent fund, and was also a member of the Friends of Papworth Hospital.

Highlights of his full life included attending a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in 1994, and receiving the Queen’s Maundy money in London in 2009.

The latter was through his association with Holy Trinity Church, which was also close to his heart. He was a member there, and at different times he served as churchwarden, sidesman, and a member of the parochial church council, and for a spell was chairman of the deanery synod.

He and his wife, Mavis, who he married in Bury St Edmunds in 1953, had been married for nearly 65 years at the time of his death.

Bungay Rotary Club, and Bungay Probus Club, of which he served a term as chairman, were other organisations he was active in. He was a founder chairman, and driver, for the Bungay Area Community Transport, and in the Royal Observer Corps. And for some years he was timekeeper for the Brains of Bungay Quiz, which was organised by the church and ran for 25 years in all.

As a young man he played football for Earsham and Broome, and he also played darts.

Mr Fisher leaves his widow, three daughters - Doreen, Pam and Susan - four grandchildren and a great-grandson.

His funeral service will be held at 11.30am on Tuesday, December 12, at Holy Trinity Church, following a private family cremation.

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