Independent Terry looks back on 52 years of serving his town
PUBLISHED: 08:34 29 May 2015 | UPDATED: 08:34 29 May 2015
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2015
It was 1963 when Terry Lamb attended his first meeting as a councillor at Thetford Borough Council. He remembers it well.
“My father was well-known in the town and the word was that, as his “boy”, I should listen and not speak for a while.
“So I made a point of speaking at the meeting, but I had no idea of the protocol and was sat down at the time.
“Next thing I knew, Harry Johnson - who was a senior figure on the council - barked at me to stand up and address the mayor properly. It wasn’t a mistake I made again,” he said.
Mr Lamb was 27 at the time, and at the start of a political career which would span 52 years, with just five years break in that time.
He has served on Thetford Borough Council, Thetford Town Council, Breckland Council and Norfolk County Council, representing the town where he was born and schooled as an independent throughout.
His only break came as he worked as a teacher in Philadelphia for a year - and even then he stood for election.
His time as a councillor has seen him become a thorn in the side of rivals and a passionate campaigner for the protection of Thetford’s historic buildings.
He says that being an independent gave him the freedom to “say it as it is”.
“As an independent I get to open things up. People would probably say I was a nuisance because I was forthright and told them what I thought.
“I was a frequent letter writer to the paper in the past and people came to see me as a challenger to the establishment,” he said.
In his time he came up against - and worked with - renowned Thetford figures such as Ben Culey, Lord Fisher and John Mayes.
He was also a founder member of Breckland Council in 1974, and the only one remaining in the last council.
He said he had failures as a councillor - including being unable to stop the demolition of several historic buildings - but that he hoped he had “done some good”.
“I am rather pleased that I have survived, really. It’s been frustrating at times because I’ve seen things tumble down around me and I see that as a tragedy.
“But I hope that I had some kind of effect, especially in protecting buildings. Fortunately in Thetford we had the good sense to put the bulldozer away in the 1970s, and apart from the mishap with The Anchor, things have been protected,” he said.
He is now set to have an operation and has not ruled out standing again once he has recovered.