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Council saddened at death of former Mayor and honorary councillor John Durrant

News release from 25/01/2019

CAMBRIDGE city councillors have expressed their sadness at the death of former Mayor and honorary councillor, John Durrant.

John Durrant was Mayor of Cambridge from 1996-97 and a member for Abbey ward, representing Labour for 21 years from 1987 to 2008. 

He was Chair of Planning Committee from 1994-97 and a leading member on many of the council’s committees, including City Board, City Centre Development (Grand Arcade), Civic Affairs and Environment Scrutiny Committee.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council, said: “We will all really miss John, a round-the-clock bundle of energy and life force who did so much for Cambridge and so many charities. 

“His efforts created real support for homeless people locally and others in need, and helped to transform both our two independent Cambridge Museums as well as many organisations in his home patch of Abbey.

“He was a larger than life character, champion of the underdog and of great ideas and projects.

“As a councillor he made a major contribution to shaping the city’s planning policies and to each of his other ten or twenty priorities for Cambridge. 

“And, he persuaded and helped all the councillors around him, irrespective of their politics. John was always generous, particularly with his time and thought for others.”

Cllr Herbert added: “I started up recycling for the county council from 1990 and I worked with John on his major reuse projects including helping Emmaus and furniture reuse projects, as well as discussing his plans as a councillor to expand recycling schemes in Cambridge. 

“I worked later to help Newmarket Open Door with John’s expansion plans, setting up one of the first foodbanks in East England and when it ran the “tip” and recycling centre that the county council was planning to close in Newmarket.”

Cllr Rod Cantrill said: “John was dedicated to the residents of Abbey, the ward he represented for over two decades. That dedication also extended to addressing the key issues that Cambridge as a whole faces. I witnessed at first hand his commitment and energy at seeking to address the issue of homelessness in the city.

“His dedication was expressed eloquently in the council chamber, with John’s contributions to debates made in an intelligent, measured but devastating way. But outside the chamber, he treated political friend or foe in the same positive and open way.”

Cllr John Hipkin said: “Before John Durrant precious little thought had been given to how Cambridge might develop over time and what provision was needed to ensure that the city could grow sustainably.

“John represented the city council on Cambridge Futures and helped clarify and amplify the growth scenarios that decision makers had at their disposal. His contribution to that body was of inestimable value. 

“I shall always remember John as a cheerful person with a ready smile and given to outbreaks of hearty laughter. In his later years he dedicated himself to the care of the homeless which more than anything showed what he cared most about. God bless him.”