Ron Borrett: City memorial service for former Lord Mayor

Bruno Peek hands the Millenium Flame to the Mayor of Norwich Ron Borrett at Norwich Cathedral. edp 1

Bruno Peek hands the Millenium Flame to the Mayor of Norwich Ron Borrett at Norwich Cathedral. edp 1.1.01 SF - Credit: EDP © 2000

A memorial service for a former Lord Mayor of Norwich, Ron Borrett, who died aged 82 and held office during the millennium year of celebrations, will be held on Saturday, April 27.

The service at St Peter Mancroft (10am) will be an opportunity to mark his contribution to the city of Norwich.

He was enormously proud to have had the opportunity to serve the city of his birth and especially in 2000. 'It has been a great honour to be Lord Mayor for the year. I feel extremely privileged,' he said, after watching his name added to the list of former office holders on a wall at City Hall.

Although he stood for office when he was close to his official retirement age in 1995, he was determined to make a further contribution to city life as a councillor for the Bowthorpe ward.


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Born on September 25, 1930 in Norwich, he was an only son. Educated at Thorpe Hamlet primary school, Crome Senior Boys' School and Norwich City College, he started his working life in 1946 as an apprentice fitter and turner at Laurence Scott & Electromotors, later becoming a senior design draughtsman.

He did his two years' National Service in the Royal Air Force until returning to the city in 1953, serving in signals when Morse Code was still in use.

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Elected to the national executive of the Draughtsmen's Union, later part of the MSF union, he was a regional member for the area from The Wash to the Thames.

After being made redundant in 1981 after 35 years, he went into business, firstly running a DIY shop and then in 1988 took over the Mile Cross sub-Post Office, Aylsham Road.

In 1995, he was elected for Bowthorpe Ward, which was then one of the largest in the city with an electorate of about 8,500 and extending into North and West Earlham.

His year of office also saw the start of work on the new £1.3 million footbridge over the River Wensum named in honour of Norwich's twin city of Novi Sad in 2001. It would also connect Koblenz Avenue and Rouen Road - named for Norwich's other twin cities in Germany and France.

He also looked back on a thoroughly enjoyable year as Lord Mayor, recalling several favourite events. During a visit to Angel Road First School, one of the youngsters thought that he was Superman. 'It was because of the red robe I was wearing at the time.' Another highlight had been presenting playwright Arthur Miller with the honorary Freedom of the City of Norwich.

In a tribute, Roy Blower, who was Lord Mayor of Norwich in 2007/8, said: 'He was a very kind and unassuming man.'

A keen bird-watcher, he studied with his late wife, Anne, for a part-time certificate in ornithology at the University of East Anglia. They had married in 1956.

A trustee of the Norfolk and Norwich Asian Society, he had been involved with the society from its earliest days, and was also involved with a number of other leading city charities.

In his later years, when he lived at Doughty's Hospital, and despite declining health, he maintained a keen interest in local affairs as a treasurer of the Mancroft branch of the Labour Party for some years and also supporting the work of the Ketts Credit Union.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 27 at St Peter Mancroft, 10am.

Michael Pollitt

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