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of Ipswich Bethesda Baptist Church

Newsletter, January 2013 (Issue 190)

Jack Chapman

Most members will know that Jack Chapman, our Chairman until April 2012, died on 3 October. A separate notice added to the October Newsletter promised this appreciation of his services to the Society and to the wider community. It is based on a eulogy written and delivered by Mike Cook at Jack's funeral on 15 October, together with information from other friends and colleagues.

Jack was very much a Mancunian in many ways; his upbringing as a barber's son in Collyhurst, a suburb two miles to the north of the city centre, was in the 1930s very tough. He was selected for the great Manchester Grammar School; that must have been a trauma, to travel across the city some four miles to a giant of a school with well over a thousand pupils.

At 18 he was conscripted into the RAF and was trained as a radar technician. He spent most of his service time in Ulster which even then was hazardous. After his economics degree at the London School of Economics he started teaching in Higher Education. He thought he was going to stay in London so he and Ann bought half a house with a friend. It's interesting that a new graduate in his early teaching career could afford to buy a house in Highgate!

In late 1969 he was appointed Head of Liberal Studies at the then Civic College. Later he became Head of the Department of General and Pre-Vocational Education. This involved setting up courses for Youth and Adult Training in co-operation with the Manpower Services Commission. Further, he organised the Office of European Relationships at the Civic College and was responsible for exchange programmes, particularly with Czechoslovakia. He was also involved in trade union affairs, becoming Chairman of the College branch of the National Association of Teachers in Further Education,

He became a Magistrate on the Ipswich Bench in 1971 where he continued for 32 years. In addition to regular Bench sittings he was elected on to various committees and appropriately was responsible for the training and continuing education of magistrates. Retirement from the college in 1992 gave Jack and Ann time for travel but this was soon cut short by the tragic early death of Ann.

As Chairman of The Ipswich Society, Jack ensured that it should be concerned with every aspect of the overall development of the town. He formed good relationships with, but firmly independent of, the Borough Council. He held close discussions with IBC's Chief Executives, James Hehir and latterly Russell Williams, which were helpful to all. He was a member, then Chair, of the Waterfront Steering Committee and Partnership during the important years of the Waterfront's development.

Delegation was one of Jack's great skills. Not for nothing was he a life-long Fabian, a society named after the Roman general renowned for wearing out his opponents by small repeated attacks to victory. Thus one could say that whilst Jack had no big works to his name his was a work of gradualism to improve life for all. In that, he was successful in many largely unsung respects.

P.S. Jack was very fond of the dock and the river. Even so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that he had set aside money for friends and colleagues to enjoy a river trip in his memory as far as Felixstowe docks on the Orwell Lady. Organised by his son Daniel and daughter Kate. this took place on 9 November when some fifty people were entertained by a jazz band and enjoyed excellent food and drinks and, of course, good conversation.

Mike Cook, Neil Salmon

    Front cover of issue 190 Cover, issue 190

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