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Town's MP during expansion years dies at 89

Wednesday, 4th June 2014.

The death has been announced of Haverhill's former MP Sir Eldon Griffiths.

Sir Eldon, who was 89 and lived for much of the year in California, will be remembered by many in Haverhill as the Conservative MP who served for the Bury St Edmunds constituency, including Haverhill, from 1964 to 1992.

A journalist by profession, he came into politics via a job as a speech-writer for prime minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home in the early 1960s.

After the Tory victory in 1970s, he served as sports minister in Edward Heath's government, but subsequently, after just a year working for Margaret Thatcher, he resigned and retired to the back benches.

The town's current MP Matthew Hancock said: For nearly 30 years, Sir Eldon was an extraordinary political figure who made his mark both here in West Suffolk and elsewhere in the world.

"He led a fascinating life and Im sure will be remembered for his wonderful character and his huge achievements in British politics.

"He has left behind a great legacy. I send my deepest condolences to his family and many friends who will miss him greatly."

Sir Eldon retained a particular place in his affections for Haverhill throughout his parliamentary time and after.

He maintained it was the most interesting place in his constituency, and that was partly because it provided him with some of his biggest challenges.

He was MP throughout much of the town expansion project, and took part in the notorious 1968 BBC Man Alive documentary about the town.

Three years ago he agreed to take part in a 40-years-on reassessment of the documentary, filmed by Haverhill man Ron Walker.

Haverhill-UK's David Hart interviewed him at length about the 1968 documentary and Haverhill's progress since, during one of his periodic visits to Bury St Edmunds.

The following year he attended the premiere of the new documentary at Haverhill Arts Centre and spoke as the guest of honour about his long interest in Haverhill.

His son John, who used to accompany him on some of his election campaigning in Haverhill, is now the leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, and a regular visitor to the town.

He led a varied life outside his parliamentary career, much of it spent in the United States, and wrote several books.

You can read a full and fascinating obituary of Sir Eldon at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/10872932/Sir-Eldon-Griffiths-obituary.html#disqus_thread

Haverhill Online News

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