John Seaman MBE

John Seaman MBE - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to former councillor John Seaman MBE, who spent many years serving in local government and died at his Wilburton home on Saturday at the age of 92, surrounded by his family.

Mr Seaman was a former member of Wilburton Parish Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, and Cambridgeshire County Council.

During his last term of office on East Cambridgeshire District Council between 2007 and 2011, he was joint member for Stretham with Councillor Bill Hunt.

Councillor Hunt said: “John Seaman was a very public spirited person and put a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the community he cared for.”

Councillor Hunt said one of Mr Seaman’s greatest achievements was helping to save Little Thetford School, when he was chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s education committee.

“That was a particular achievement, and the school has gone from strength to strength,” he said.

Mr Seaman served as chairman on a number of school governing bodies, including Witchford Village College, Wilburton Primary School, City of Ely College, Wilburton Manor School and King’s School, Ely.

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He was a member of Cambridgeshire County Council, representing Ely North and South, from 1989 until 1993, and served as a co-opted member of the council’s education committee for four years before he became its chairman.

Mr Seaman was a member of Wilburton Parish Council until two years ago, and was a former chairman of the East Anglia Tourist Board and Fens Tourism.

He was a keen supporter of amateur theatre, and a founder member of Wilburton Theatre Group. He produced and directed pantomimes in King’s Lynn in the 1950s and 60s, and was a former member of Ely’s Campaign Amateur Theatre, a regional representative on NODA, the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, and also worked with drama groups in Luton and Harlow. He was a keen gardener.

Councillor Mike Rouse, who served on the district council with Mr Seaman for many years, said: “He was an outstanding councillor for his villages, and was a man who upheld the dignity of loval government. As a chairman of the county council eduction committee he was formidable, and often outspoken.”

He was awarded the MBE for services to education in 1998, and became a lay preacher in the Methodist church in his 80s. He was the past master of two Masonic lodges in Hunstanton and one in Ely.

Councillor Tony Cornell, Chairman at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “It is with great sadness that I heard that John Seaman MBE has passed away. He was a great servant to East Cambridgeshire in various roles and added much to the success of the district over many decades.

“He was also a passionate ward member for Stretham who would campaign vigorously for the well being of his residents. He was a wise voice for all members to consult and I am sure I speak for all of them when I send the authority’s condolences and best wishes to his family and friends.”

Mr Seaman was the son of a forester and was born in Flitcham on the Sandringham royal estate. At the age of 12 he was presented with a signed Bible by King George V.

He joined the General Post Office at King’s Lynn as an apprentice aged 17, and was a senior executive engineer when he retired in 1981.

He leaves a daughter, Joanna Appleby, son-in-law Nigel, and grandchildren Rebecca, Katie and Ben. His son Roger died in 1970 aged four, and his son Tim died in a road accident in Cambodia in 1999.

The funeral will take place on Friday December 20 at Ely Methodist Church at 12noon, and a thanksgiving service will be h

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