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Former Sudbury mayor Peter Goodchild known for charity work and ready smile dies aged 90



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A former mayor of Sudbury, who for decades was a tireless stalwart of the town’s community life, has died aged 90.

Peter Goodchild served two terms as mayor in the 2000s, and was known not only for his town council work but also for his long connection with Sudbury Rotary Club, and enthusiastic support for town twinning.

He and his wife, Valerie, who celebrated their golden wedding in 2019, also organised the town’s popular Christmas Tree Festival on behalf of Rotary for several years.

Former Sudbury mayor Peter Goodchild
Former Sudbury mayor Peter Goodchild

Roger Green, a long-time Rotary colleague and friend, said: “Peter had an infectiously positive attitude to life.

“I shall always remember him with a smile on his face, generously offering up his time and energy to one good cause after another, and with a good word to say about most things. His sense of humour made working with him a joy.

“Peter joined the Rotary Club in 1995, always being one of the first to sign up for the latest project.

Peter and Valerie Goodchild
Peter and Valerie Goodchild

“He was the only member of the club to be elected as president twice and was further honoured with a Paul Harris fellowship, the highest award available to Rotarians.”

Mr Goodchild was born in Clapton in 1932, and grew up in Hornchurch. He did national service in the Army and spent 12 years in the Territorial Army, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant.

After a variety of civilian jobs, he came to Sudbury in 1964 to run the Bear Inn. While there, he met Valerie, who had just started as a trainee reporter on the Suffolk Free Press.

They married in 1969 and had two children, Paul and Clare. His family was one of the great joys of his life, and Mrs Goodchild described her husband as 'a truly gentle man'.

After leaving the Bear, Mr Goodchild joined Sudbury-based marine engineers Brunton’s Propellers, later becoming sales manager responsible for UK and international clients.

Favourite pastimes included target shooting – he was Suffolk .22 rifle champion three times – and ‘messing about in boats’. He and his wife crewed for friends, and he also helped with holidays afloat for people with disabilities.

Holidays abroad, and an appreciation of fine food and wine, were other passions they shared.

Prompted partly by Mr Goodchild’s deteriorating eyesight, they looked to downsize their home and, in 2014, moved to Bangor, Northern Ireland, where Clare lived with her husband, Mark, and daughters Amie and Caitlin.

Mrs Goodchild said it was not an easy decision, with Martin, who is Mr Goodchild’s son from his first marriage, as well as Paul and grandchildren Elisha and Kyle, still living England.

They enjoyed seven years in their new home before Mr Goodchild was diagnosed with stomach cancer in October 2021. He died peacefully at home last week.

Following a private cremation, a service of thanksgiving will take place at S Clarke & Son’s Funeral Church, Bangor, on Saturday at 2pm. Live streaming will be available by going online to www.sclarkeandson.co.uk.