Can you give us some background information about yourself?
I am Suffolk born and bread and was Educated at St Joseph’s College in Ipswich, qualifying as a schoolmaster from Manchester University. I have been married for 52 years, have three children and four grandchildren. I arrived in the Bury St Edmunds in 1960.
How did you become the Mayor of Bury St Edmunds?
For 16 years, I was an Independent Councillor for the town centre ward of Abbeygate, for St Edmundsbury Borough Coucil. I was invited by fellow Councillors to serve as Mayor from 1997 to 1998.
What did you do before your time as Mayor?
I was a member of the teaching profession, teaching pupils of having a good self concept, a good Christian attitude towards others, appreciating Creative Arts and encouraging their healthy social life skills.
What has been your biggest life achievement so far?
Firstly surviving 52 years of married life with Monica, who is affectionally known as ‘Mystic’ to me and others, because we never know what she is going to say or do next – perhaps that’s why we enjoy life! Secondly, surviving an eleven hour open surgery on my lungs, at Papworth last year. Thirdly introducing soon after becoming a Councillor on St Edmundsbury Council the concept of Resident’s Parking in the town.
You are married to Monica how did you meet?
In church! I began playing the organ in my teens, but it meant someone had to pump the organ. One Sunday Monica came to the rescue pumping my organ and the rest is history!
Tell us about being awarded the British Empire Medal?
A complete surprise, honoured but humbled yet happy to receive it as the citation reads ‘for services to the community of Bury St Edmunds.’
What was it like meeting HRH Price Charles?
An honour on both occasions. He is a person who is very interested in all persons he meets. He commented on the colours of my bow tie, and I told him it is because he appreciates Art! He has a sense of humour.
How are you keeping yourself busy in 2013?
I am trying to lead a full life, in retirement, with my wife Monica and friends. I am happy to have the freedom and time to enjoy the company I keep and banter over a good pint of Greene King Mild in The Rose and Crown, followed by a great supper at Valley Connection or Zen.
What current projects are you working on?
My philosophy in life has been, where there is a need in the community try and solve it through giving ones time and energy. Hence being the Independent Chairman of the newly founded Trust – Community Investment Company which is currently responsible for an over million pounds development of Sports facilities at the Victory Sports Ground in the town.
The importance of helping others less fortunate than oneself, hence being Chairman of Bury St Edmunds Trustees of Just Traid, a member of the Executive of Gatehouse.
Keeping and interest in Education as the current Chairman of Governors at the Guildhall Feoffment Community Primary School, a member of the Executive of Suffolk’s English Speaking Union, also serving on the Guildhall Heritage Trust and being President of Anglia in Bloom.
And Mike… lastly what do you think of our new ‘Bounce’ magazine?
A great initiative as it is interested in the community and hopefully will continue to give its readers enjoyment and BOUNCE!
Since this interview sadly Mike Ames has past away, we would like to send our love to all of Mike’s close family and friends.