Former council leader who spearheaded improvements to rail and leisure venues dies aged 85

King's Lynn Festival launch at King's Lynn Town Hall on July 14, 2013.Margaret Stockwell, Ian Stoc

Ian Stockwell, centre, pictured with his late wife Margaret and Ted Martin at the lainch of the 2013 King's Lynn Festival - Credit: Archant

A visionary council leader who campaigned for the electrification of the railway line between King's Lynn and Cambridge has died at the age of 85.

Ian Stockwell was Conservative leader of West Norfolk council for 10 years.

He was first elected to the authority in 1973, representing Dersingham, and served until he stepped down after 22 years in 1995.

As leader of the council, Mr Stockwell was instrumental in many of the key achievements of the period including the electrification of the rail line from Cambridge to King's Lynn, which was completed in 1989. 

Two Great Northern line trains on the platform at Downham Market Railway Station. Picture: Ian Burt

The railway line between King's Lynn and Cambridge was electrified in the late 1980s - Credit: Ian Burt

He also played a leading role in the development of Lynnsport and the refurbishment of the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn.

Alan Pask, chief executive of the council from 1987 – 1999, said: "It was a privilege to work with Ian when he was leader of the council.

"His determination ensured many key projects and improvements were achieved during his tenure.

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"He enabled the chief officers team to work effectively with the committee chairmen on many issues and projects to improve the lives of the people of the borough."

The Queen when she opened Lynnsport in King's Lynn in August 1991.

The Queen at the opening of Lynnsport in August 1991. - Credit: Archant

Mr Stockwell was secretary of MENCAP King's Lynn, chairman of the management committee of Dersingham Community Centre, chairman of All Aboard, which was formed in 1990 to improve access to transport for the disabled, chairman of the Forward Day Care Centre and a member of the management board of Park House, formerly a hotel for the disabled at Sandringham.

Following his retirement from the council, Mr Stockwell was made an Honorary Alderman in recognition of his outstanding public service.

He was educated in Penrith, where he grew up, moving to Norfolk after graduating from Newcastle University to take up a teaching post at Wymondham College in 1960.

CAPTION; Photo of the King's Lynn Corn Exchange which is getting ready for a Behind the Scenes open

King's Lynn Corn Exchange reopened in 1995 after its refurbishment - Credit: Matthew Usher

He became the head of geography at King Edward VII school in King's Lynn in 1968, where he stayed until retirement in 1990.

He also served as the agent of the West Norfolk Conservative Association, and vice chairman of the North West Norfolk Conservative Association.

Mr Stockwell passed away on January 5. He was predeceased by his son Stephen in 2005 and wife Margaret in 2020. He is survived by his daughter Liz.

The funeral will take place on Thursday,  February 3 at 11.15 am at St Nicholas Church, Dersingham.

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