Town’s lasting tribute to much-loved mayor

David Markland and son Robert helped to unveil the new street sign in honour of father and grandfath

David Markland and son Robert helped to unveil the new street sign in honour of father and grandfather Ken Markland. - Credit: Archant

A road has been named in honour of a much-loved former mayor and long-standing councillor who left a lasting legacy on the town he served.

Ken Markland was mayor of Beccles twice during the 1970s and 1990s and one of his greatest achievements was setting up the town's May Centre - a day facility for adults with disabilities.

He served as chairman of the centre until he died in 2006 aged 89.

Now, the road leading up to the centre has been named Ken Markland Way and the street sign was officially unveiled this week in front of an audience of centre volunteers, members, councillors, Beccles mayor Hugh Taylor and Mr Markland's son David and grandson Robert.

Suffolk county councillor Mark Bee put forward the road-naming proposal last year.

He said: 'I was standing in the May Centre and David said to me that it would be really nice if we could name a road after his father.

'So I looked around and thought the road leading up to the centre doesn't have a name.

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'We went through the process of getting the councils to look at it and discuss it and consult with the interested parties and here we are.'

David Markland took over as chairman of the May Centre last year, just a month after the centre celebrated its 33rd birthday with the unveiling of a new £55,000 minibus.

It is entirely funded by donations and fundraising events and offers a meeting place with a range of activities for local people.

Mr Markland said: 'My father did a lot for the town and was mayor twice and town councillor for a least 25 years, but he was not really political, he was all for the town.

'There was always talk about the May Centre being named after my father but he would have none of it.

'It's nice that he is being remembered with the May Centre, which was always close to his heart for many, many years.

'He was always a man of understatement, but I think he would be quietly proud.

'He was a very hardworking but understated, humble man.

'It means a lot to our family and hopefully it means a lot to the May Centre as well because it is remembering where it all started.'

Mr Taylor who unveiled the new sign alongside Mr Markland said it was a particular pleasure to see so many volunteers and supporters of the May Centre present.

He said: 'That this unique service is in place in Beccles is due in no small part to the efforts of former mayor Ken Markland, and the naming of the road in his honour is entirely fitting and an occasion at which I and my fellow councillors are very pleased to recognise and be present at.

'I would also like to thank county councillor Mark Bee and the immediate past chairman of the May Centre, Dermot Wesley-Smith, for all their efforts to have this road named in Ken's memory.'

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