Suffolk Coastal District Council’s new Chairman is Councillor Chris Blundell.
Cllr Blundell, who represents the Martlesham Ward will be Chairman for the next 12 months, taking on the post from Cllr Mark Newton.
He officially became the district’s first citizen, when he was elected as Chairman of Suffolk Coastal District Council at its Annual Council meeting on Thursday, 25 May 2017.
The Chairman’s role is a largely ceremonial one of representing the district at about 100 formal and less formal public engagements a year. Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Chairman wears a chain of office when carrying out most duties, but does not have any formal robes like many mayors.
Cllr Blundell, who lives in Martlesham, was first elected to Suffolk Coastal Council in 2007, so has already given a decade of service to the District. He is also a Martlesham Parish Councillor.
“I’m really looking forward to my year in office. I am particularly interested in using this opportunity to promote apprenticeships in the District. From my personal experience, I can testify to the difference they can make to a young person’s life. I could not have achieved what I have in my professional life without my apprenticeship kick starting my career,” said Cllr Blundell.
Born in the Lake District, Mr Blundell had a difficult upbringing. His family was homeless during his early years, resulting in him being largely brought up in children’s homes and hostels.
As a result, he was educated in a variety of schools as he moved around. However, in 1953, the young Chris Blundell successfully landed an apprenticeship and trained in industrial manufacture with heavy vehicles at Leyland Motors Ltd. This apprenticeship also allowed him to study for his first HNC.
He then moved to English Electric Aviation, serving time as a trainee designer, while also studying for a second HNC in Aeronautics. He particularly worked on the design of the ill-fated TSR2 that flew briefly in 1964, only for the project to be cancelled by Harold Wilson’s Government in 1965.
Now bitten by the education bug, Mr Blundell then entered the teaching profession and moved to Suffolk in 1965, getting his first main teaching role at the then Ipswich Civic College, where he remained for 37 years, lecturing in Engineering Technology.
During that time he successfully completed a First Degree with Honours and continued to complete a Post graduate award in Manufacturing and Forensic engineering. He was also involved in the setting up and lecturing on the first Degree course in Engineering at subsequently named Suffolk College.
Cllr Blundell has been married to Christine for 47 years – and readily admits he would struggle to fulfil his work without her support.
Having been born and raised in the Lake District, Mr Blundell enjoyed the outdoor life in his younger years, spending many weekends under canvass and enjoying hiking, canoeing, climbing, potholing and orienteering.
However, today his interests are more sedate, including model making, history and genealogy, as well as being a keen supporter of the local football club, namely Woodbridge Town FC.
Cllr Blundell wants to promote apprenticeships during his year in office. His chosen charities for the year are the life-saving charities of the RNLI and Air Ambulance.
The new Vice-Chairman of the Council is Cllr Nicky Yeo, who represents the Nacton and Purdis Farm Ward.