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Fenland councillors will pay tribute to former chief executive Ernie Thompson who has died aged 86

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Councillors will pay tribute tomorrow to former Fenland District Council chief executive, Ernest (Ernie) Thompson, following his death at the age of 86.

Tribute will be paid at tomorrow’s full Council meeting and a minute’s silence will be held. The Fenland flag is also flying at half-mast at Fenland Hall as a mark of respect, and will remain there until after his funeral.

Mr Thompson, who devoted 31 years to local government service – 19 of them at Fenland District Council – passed away peacefully on July 1.

Ernie Thompson who was chief executive of Fenland District Council for 10 years. (13954867)
Ernie Thompson who was chief executive of Fenland District Council for 10 years. (13954867)

The public sector stalwart began his career at Liverpool City Council in 1962. His first role locally was at Wisbech Borough Council, where he was working as Deputy Town Clerk when it merged with Chatteris Urban District, March Urban District, Whittlesey Urban District, North Witchford Rural District and Wisbech Rural District to form Fenland District Council in 1974.

Following the merger he was appointed district secretary of Fenland District Council and become the authority’s second chief executive in 1983, succeeding Eric Lewis. Mr Thompson retired after 10 years in the top job, in February, 1993.

Councillor Kay Mayor, chairman of Fenland District Council, who will lead tomorrow’s tributes, said: “We are greatly saddened to hear of the death of Ernie Thompson. He was a true inspiration to many people not least because of his passion and commitment to local government, and commanded great respect from all who worked with him. His family is in the thoughts of all who knew him at the council at this time.”

Fenland Hall March. (13934179)
Fenland Hall March. (13934179)

Norman Topliss, who succeeded Mr Thompson as chief executive, said: “He was an honourable chap who was dedicated to doing the best for Fenland, and that was what drove him. He could be a hard task master, but there was always a twinkle in his eye, and he got the council through a lot of difficult times. I worked with him for 20 years and it was a joy to be able to follow the example that he set.”

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