Jack Ramm: Former Norfolk County Council chairman and Thetford’s last borough mayor

A former Norfolk County Council chairman, Jack Ramm, who has died aged 87 after a long illness, represented Breckland for more than three decades.

He was also the last borough mayor of Thetford in 1973 and the following year the first elected town mayor.

He had represented one of the town's divisions since the local government reorganisation of 1973 and just seven years later was elected chairman of the county council.

Jack Eric Ramm moved to Thetford from Hertford in 1948. His father came from Snettisham and his mother from Norwich.

Initially, he worked for the Forestry Commission before military service, initially in the RAF. Then he was transferred to the Royal Corps of Signals, serving in Egypt and Palestine and seeing war service.

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He joined British Rail on the engineering side and then became a signalman at the old Thetford West junction and then a relief on the Norwich to Ely line, working boxes between Eccles Road and Lakenheath. He was a branch secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen.

A member of Thetford Labour Party since 1952, he first gained a seat at a by-election on the old borough council in 1969. He was re-elected the next year. When elected town mayor in 1974, he noted the latest census had revealed Thetford was the fastest-growing, thriving industrial community in Norfolk.

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In 1975, he became a magistrate.

As a county councillor, he took a keen interest in social services and planning. He was also a member of the agricultural sub-committee, Norfolk museums committee, airport joint committee and EDP best-kept village joint committee. A member of Breckland Council between 1976 and 1991, he was chairman of the Fens and Norfolk local committee of Eastern Gas Consumer Council.

In 1991, he fell out with the Labour Party and stood as an independent in Barnham Cross. In 1999 he was re-elected and served for eight years to complete a total of 30 years on the council. He was also a long-serving president of Thetford Labour Party.

Breckland Council leader William Nunn said: 'Jack was a valued member of Breckland Council for many years and has made a great contribution to the life of the district. He was a true gentleman who always went out of his way to say hello to staff and ask them how they were. He will be greatly missed.'

He leaves a widow, Connie, sons Michael and Stephen, five grandchildren and great -grandchildren.

A funeral service has been held at West Suffolk Crematorium.

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