Former society chairman made lifetime member

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The Sudbury Society has made former chairman David Burnett a lifetime member in a special ceremony.

Mr Burnett, a local historian and author, is a former webmaster, vice-chairman and chairman of the society, but stepped down from his roles to enjoy time as an ‘ordinary’ member.

He took early retirement from teaching in 1996 and joined the Sudbury Society.

”It seemed to chime in with my interests – history, architecture, the way that old buildings embody the past history of the town and its people,” he said.

Only two years after joining, Mr Burnett was elected chairman.

He established one of the society’s hallmarks, always presenting reasoned, well-thought-out responses to the many issues affecting the town, but admitted some issues had not gone the way he had hoped.

“Lost battles, such as the total clearance of the Hamilton Road quarter, including the early malting kiln and Cundy’s warehouse,” he said. “Those responsible promised that a new development would be one that the townspeople could be proud of.

“The society helped to fund the production of an imaginative plan for the regeneration of the whole area but, 15 years on, it remains a wasteland.”

He has two “landmarks” of which he is most proud; Babergh District Council’s adoption in 2004 of Sudbury’s local list of significant buildings based on his book Sudbury, Suffolk: the Unlisted Heritage, and the biennial Visions of Sudbury art exhibition.

On top of being granted life membership, Mr Burnett was presented with a cheque for £500 – donated by society members.