It is with great sadness that we report the death of Andrew Phillips on 9th April at the age of 84. He was our President and had been a founding member of the Society some 50 years ago. He was a regular attendee at our committee meetings and always had strong views on the direction of the Society and its work. Our thoughts should be with his family at this sad time.
Brought up in Sudbury, it was a town that in effect he never left, and, although living for a while in Braintree, his love of the town and district never faltered. But never let it be said he was in any way parochial in his outlook.
His knowledge and love of the Stour Valley and Sudbury was encyclopedic and exceptional, covering a huge range of history and topics. This is unlikely ever to be repeated and makes the loss even greater for the people that knew him and benefitted from his wisdom.
Andrew's lengthy stint as "Legal Eagle", alongside Jimmy Young on BBC Radio 2, showed his ability and knack to explain the complicated and sometimes esoteric aspects of the law in a way that the man on the Clapham Omnibus or the Market Hill would understand. This was a great way to show his technical ability and power of communication on all levels.
His time in the House of Lords dealt with some of the most complicated issues such as Palestine, the reform of Charity law and the thorny issue of Identity Cards. He loathed the loss of local control in Local Government and the Court system, and he felt that these institutions were becoming remote from the people they were supposed to serve.
Andrew wrote the constitution of the Sudbury Society and his hands-on approach reached many and varied corners of life in Sudbury. He was the Solicitor who went to the Gas Board on behalf of a client and secured the purchase of what now is the Quay Theatre, and probably saved it from demolition.
We can all remember Andrew on his bicycle around the town but do we remember that he made that rare thing ,a citizen's arrest because someone had thrown his bike to the ground. In more recent times you would often meet him walking to or from his coffee/lunch haunts.
We should all be sad for his family at this time. We should, however, think how lucky we have been to know a person so knowledgeable about Sudbury and its environs. He was so energized to maintain its character and its institutions and style. None of us are likely to know another such champion of our lovely and special town.
In his memory we should carry on his fight. Sudbury and Andrew Phillips deserve this.