After 43 years as an Eye town councillor and a Mid Suffolk district councillor, Charles Flatman says he “must have done something right” to stay in local politics for so long.
Now aged 85, Mr Flatman, who also previously served as town mayor for three years and as a Suffolk county councillor for eight years, feels he has done his “little bit” for the community – and thus brought an era to an end as he announced his resignation last week.
During his tenure, he was heavily involved in bringing the Community Centre to Eye, while his work relating to the town’s cricket ground led to him being recognised as a honorary lifetime member of Eye Cricket Club.
Mr Flatman, a retired antiques dealer who lives in Broad Street, explained his interest in politics came from his origins, coming from a family with very little money as a child, and he said he was happy to have started in local government as a Labour Party candidate in a Conservative Party stronghold.
“I have always done the best I could,” he said.
“I have been elected for 43 years, and always had an opponent of some political persuasion. I must have done something right!”
In his farewell speech at a meeting in Eye Town Hall last Wednesday, Mr Flatman stressed the importance of the Queen’s Head pub in Cross Street as a vital resource to people, both in and outside of Eye.
“It’s the hub of the community,” he said.
“This pub brings in people from all walks of life. It’s one of the most important buildings in the town.
“Not only does it bring people into the town, it’s also a meeting place for people to discuss important things.”
Fellow councillor Alan Cooper praised Mr Flatman for his contribution to the town over the last four decades, saying his efforts were “of monumental standing”.
Mr Flatman said he remained optimistic for the future and that he believed town councillors should always strive towards building an “affinity with the people they represent”.
He added that he now planned to use his time to pursue his hobby of reading about political history.