Friends and associates gather for a special garden party to say fond farewell to retiring MP Sir Paice and his wife Ava

Sir Jim Paice hosts a retirement party in Ely (PHOTO: Mike Rouse)

Sir Jim Paice hosts a retirement party in Ely (PHOTO: Mike Rouse) - Credit: Archant

He admitted that one of the things he would miss in his retirement after 28 years as MP would be “being in the thick of it” but he was definitely that for one last time yesterday.

Retirement party for Sir Jim Paice (PHOTO: Mike Rouse)

Retirement party for Sir Jim Paice (PHOTO: Mike Rouse) - Credit: Archant

Numerous friends and political acquaintances were among guests who joined Sir Jim Paice and his wife Ava at a retirement party held in the grounds of Old Bishop’s Palace, Ely.

And just to make sure he’d not forgotten anyone from his monumental stint as MP, it was an open invitation to as many who cared to attend.

Sir Jim stepped down as MP for SE Cambs in May having served as representative for the area for 28 years.

In a recent interview with the Ely Standard he said: “I think my wife and I began to realise during the last election campaign that it would probably be our last.

Retirement party for Sir Jim Paice (PHOTO: Mike Rouse)

Retirement party for Sir Jim Paice (PHOTO: Mike Rouse) - Credit: Archant


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“I have no immediate plans to change my life apart from getting used to not being an MP. “I have other work that I do and I am involved with, some charities so at the moment I am not thinking of doing anything else.

“My wife and I have got lots of true friends in this area so I have no plans to move away

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Sir Jim stepped down as MP for SE Cambs in May having served as representative for the area for 28 years.

He said he would mainly miss “the camaraderie, the hot house of gossip, being in the thick of it, I will miss that. It is just feeling that I will be outside looking in rather than being on the inside that I think I will miss about being in Westminster.”

Retirement party for Sir Jim Paice (PHOTO: Mike Rouse)

Retirement party for Sir Jim Paice (PHOTO: Mike Rouse) - Credit: Archant

Sir Jim was elected as the Conservative MP for SE Cambridgeshire in 1987, succeeding Francis Pym. He served as Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2010-2012 and was knighted in 2012 in recognition of his public service.

Quite recently he resigned from his role as chairman of First Milk after less than two years in the post.

Sir Jim wrote to farmers saying the role needs someone with “real commercial and business skills”.

In his letter, Sir Jim said: “Signalling my intention to stand down allows the board to immediately start work on scoping out the personal and professional qualities that they require in a new chairman.”

Among the guests at yesterday’s garden party were Lucy Frazer, who has succeeded him as MP, and police commissioner Sir Graham Bright, a colleague of Sir Jim’s when both served in the House of Commons.

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