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Shock as Newmarket town councillor Eddie Kavanagh dies suddenly at the age of 53

The flag outside Newmarket's Memorial Hall has been flying at half mast this week in memory of town councillor Eddie Kavanagh, who died suddenly on Thursday morning aged 53.

Cllr Kavanagh, who was elected to represent Scaltback ward in May 2022, was described as an invaluable member of the council by Mayor Philippa Winter, who said she had learned of his death with great sadness.

Cllr Kavanagh, who lived with his mother Doreen in Doug Smith Close, had been to the council offices on Thursday morning before heading home.

Councillor Eddie Kavanagh
Councillor Eddie Kavanagh

“He got off the bus and turned down into Croft Road, where he collapsed,” said Mrs Kavanagh.

“A passer-by called the ambulance and stayed with Eddie until he was taken to Addenbrooke's, where he died. When I was on my way home, someone asked me if I knew what had happened in Croft Road that morning because it had all been all taped off and there was an ambulance and police cars. I never dreamt it would be anything to do with me.”

Mrs Kavanagh has appealed for that passer-by to contact the Newmarket Journal on 01638 564104 or at news@newmarketjournal.co.uk so his identity could be passed on to her.

Cllr Kavanagh was the oldest of Mrs Kavanagh’s five children with her late husband Patrick. The couple had moved from Co Kildare, in Ireland, to London, where Eddie was born and then to Newmarket, where he went to school at St Benedict’s Upper School, in Bury St Edmunds.

After a course at West Suffolk College, where he learned carpentry and painting and decorating, he put his skills to use setting up as a self-employed painter and decorator before marrying and moving to Northamptonshire, where his children Louis, Olivia and Thomas were born. He also leaves two grandsons.

Returning to Newmarket after a divorce some years later, Cllr Kavanagh was hit hard by a bout of Covid, which after he recovered left him weakened and unable to carry on working and also prevented him from playing tennis as a member of Newmarket Tennis Club, which had been one of his favourite activities.

“He’d been dyed in the wool Labour from his teenage years so I wasn’t a bit surprised when he got on the council and it was like anything he ever did, he threw himself into it and only got annoyed because he said everything happened so slowly,” said Mrs Kavanagh.

Newmarket’s deputy mayor Cllr John Harvey, with whom he served on the development and planning committee, said that he and Cllr Kavanagh had made several site visits together in connection with planning applications.

“He was very active and always liked to probe any issue that arose and have a go at sorting it out,” said Cllr Harvey.

“He was very well liked and respected at the council because of his enthusiasm and commitment and his extensive local knowledge.”

Another friend, fellow councillor and active member of the local Labour party Kevin Yarrow, said: “In all those roles, Eddie was effective, committed and colourful.

“He served on several town council committees and working groups to which he applied himself energetically.

“He was also active in the constituency Labour party as vice-chairman of our campaigns committee and a committed member of the North-West branch.

“Eddie was a caring man with strong views which he put into practice. He is a great loss to our community,” he added.

In line with her son’s own wishes, Mrs Kavanagh said there would be no funeral service or ceremony.

“We shall just leave people to remember him in their own way,” she added.