In the week ahead, I will be marking the passing of Councillor Sophie Connelly, who lost her brave battle with cancer earlier this month. A sad start to the year.
Sophie was first elected to Ipswich Borough Council for the Whitton ward in 2012, bringing with her a burst of energy and enthusiasm, especially for social events.
She was intelligent with a big interest in community. Her strong and forthright character shone through and combined with her work rate, helped her become an effective representative for her ward.
She made a great contribution when promoted to the Council Executive, taking on a leading role with culture and communities. She put a lot of effort into the work with the various communities across the town, meeting and forging relationships with many groups. She brought in three-year grants for community groups, to give them more certainty in funding, and was always delighted to present a big cheque to charities.
Sophie was tremendously proud to be French and of her French heritage and would often remind her colleagues that they did not have that privilege! A wonderful hostess, she introduced the joy of raclette to her friends, while being kind and generous with her time and friendship.
In 2022 she joined me as a councillor for St Johns ward. She was keen to learn and pushed replacement of the Newbury Road playground. The last bit of official business that we did together was attending the opening of the new dressing rooms at the Regent Theatre – an exciting addition that will attract shows with bigger casts.
Sophie will be remembered for her hard work, wonderful friendship and joie de vivre. She leaves a big gap in the lives of those who knew her.
Today I heard a comment about Sophie Connelly in Whitton, “so many people remember her”. It looks like her memory will live on. Perhaps Bastille Day would be an appropriate day for her friends and colleagues to remember her. I will certainly be raising a glass to her memory.