When we moved to Stradbroke Annie was involved in many activities in the village. Chair of the Parish Council, community centre trustee and a Governor at the Primary School. A former teacher and Local Authority Advisor Annie’s specialism was special educational needs. Indeed she was even a lay member of the Special Educational Needs tribunal, a member of the judiciary no less!
It was not long before I became Chair of Governors at the Primary School and Annie became Vice-Chair. it was a difficult time for the school and Annie was the best Vice-Chair imaginable. She was encouraging, knowledgeable and always on the end of a phone when there were problems.
When we appointed a Head who at the time was the youngest in the country Annie provided her with support too which I know she really appreciated.
More recently Annie also became a Governor at the High School and helped to strengthen the relationship between the two village schools.
Annie also played a key role in the Suffolk Libraries campaign of 2011. Her inspiring speech delivered to a packed community centre in Stradbroke quite literally kicked off the campaign that is well documented on this Blog.
For a while the small village of Stradbroke somewhat amazingly played a leading role in the County’s politics and it would not be too far of a stretch to see a link between events in Stradbroke and the departure of the County’s Leader closely followed by the Chief Executive.
Stradbroke Library - and all the libraries in Suffolk - remain open and at Stradbroke we are starting to put in place plans that she championed to develop the use of the Courthouse building to expand the library. This would simply not have happened without Annie.
Annie was not just a strong campaigner but put just as much energy into the community work that began when the campaigning stopped. Indeed she would very likely have been nominated as one of the first Board Members of the new Suffolk Libraries IPS had she not been taken ill just as the nominations were due.
In a small village people often wear a lot of hats but none wear as many as well as Annie did. I will miss the regular post-meeting drinks putting the world, or at least the County, to rights as much as I will her wise counsel and leadership.
I have put together a short tribute video with a recording of Annie speaking at the public meeting about the library held in February 2011. Her speech was a real inspiration:
You can read the Full text of the speech on the Stradbroke Website
Suffolk Libraries have also issued a tribute to Ann Kerr
There is also a tribute page on St Elizabeth hospice website where you can donate in Annie’s memory
The Diss Express also published a tribute to Ann Kerr