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Page updated - 22 February 2009

 

Lesley Ford-Platt M.A.

 

Lesley Ford-Platt is a name always associated with the River Stour Trust, however, as I quickly discovered this is a lady of many interests and talents.

 

After her first marriage in 1967 Lesley worked at the University of Essex & for the Health Service Executive Council until the birth of her three children, two sons & a daughter, and now grandmother to three grandsons & a granddaughter. In 2001 Lesley and her now husband Tony, with whom she says she has formed a very successful partnership in raising funds (around £1million), moved to a 300-year-old converted barn in Great Cornard.

 

Tony Platt was Chairman of the River Stour Trust for almost 20 years & Editor of its journal for around 25 years. This dedicated couple have helped gain wide public support for completing major projects e.g. restoration of the locks at Flatford, Dedham and Great Cornard, setting up & running trips for the public on electric boats at Sudbury & Flatford, acquiring & restoring the Granary in Quay Lane and building a new Visitor/Education Centre near Great Cornard Lock.

 

Lesley has been Press & Development Officer for the Trust for many years and also ran the RST Tea Room for many years. She raised over £330,000 for the Great Cornard Lock and the lock was opened in September 1997, being one of the few projects in the country to be given Millennium Commission Funding, and opened up continuous navigation between Sudbury & Henny, the first time for almost 200years. It is obvious she & Tony have devoted thousands of hours to the Charity.


Lesley has been a Liberal-Democrat Councillor for Sudbury since 2003 and she says it was a great honour for her to be Mayor of Sudbury, May 2005 - May 2006 and she and Tony had an exceptional year of meeting local people and finding out how much time dedicated people give to their organisations. During her time as Mayor this busy lady led a march through Sudbury to draw public attention towards obtaining suitable hospital provision for Sudbury & district and she is still involved with Sudbury WATCH as part of the Committee working to this end. Chairman of the Sudbury Market Town Partnership is another of Lesley's accomplishments, £250,000 of external funding has been raised for several projects in the town - the latest ongoing project being a study by the Civic Trust regarding the bus station area. Lesley is Chairman of Governors of a local Primary School, a role she really enjoys.

 

She and her husband also like to ‘take to the floor’ ballroom dancing at the local Tea Dances when they can find the time. One other new hobby they share is to cruise at least twice a year, finances permitting! Having honeymooned on the QE2 in 2004 they managed a memorable trip last September to the USA and Canada as part of the QE2 farewell tour before being decommissioned. They even went to Southampton last November to bid her farewell as she set off for her final destination in Dubai.

 

I was lucky to visit the Ford-Platt’s beautiful home on a sunny morning to sit in the conservatory and witness the sight of two magnificent pheasants enjoying their surroundings. Lesley says their garden abounds with wildlife, a fox has taken up residence, a badger visits and crested newts in the pond. I reached the conclusion this lady feels if you are fortunate enough to live in such a beautiful setting why not give pleasure to other people by letting them share it i.e. opening the garden to six Charities a year for fund raising - a very good philosophy on life I would say!

Interview by Doris Rowland (Cornard News) – 15 Feb 2009