Paul has been married for over twenty years to Angela, who teaches part-time at a middle school in Bury St Edmunds. He has four children from his previous marriage, and eight grandchildren. Paul has lived in or around Bury St Edmunds from 1977. Since 1998 he has lived in the town, in or on the edge of Abbeygate ward.
Education & Qualifications
After attending Chigwell School Paul studied at The Royal College of Music, where he gained its Associate (ARCM) and Graduate (GRSM) diplomas.
He later went to London University’s Institute of Education, where he took both the academic Diploma in Education and MA higher degree. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Paul was Head of Music at two London comprehensive schools. Later he was Deputy Head and subsequently Head Teacher of a secondary school in Brixton, before becoming Head of a larger South London mixed comprehensive school.
After the Inner London Education Authority was abolished Paul left London and held a number of part-time posts, including choirmaster at Old Buckenham Hall School, Brettenham and music examiner for Trinity College, London. He was later co-ordinator of the St Edmundsbury Area Mediation Service (SEAMS).
Paul Farmer was a parish councillor in Suffolk in the early 1980s. In 1991 he stood as a Conservative candidate on Mid-Suffolk District Council. In 1992 Paul won a Suffolk County Council by-election and became a county councillor for Bury St Edmunds. On May 1st 2003 he was elected as an Abbeygate ward councillor for both the St Edmundsbury Borough and Bury St Edmunds Town Councils.
Paul left the Town Council in July 2005 because of concerns that it was taking on too much. In March 2006 he was appointed to St Edmundsbury Council’s cabinet as Portfolio Holder for Arts & Culture, and after being re-elected in 2007 he was appointed Portfolio Holder for Resources & Efficiency, with responsibility for leading the Council's budget setting process. He is a member of the Officer Appointments Committee, Licensing & Regulatory Committee, Mayoral Advisory Committee and Bury St Edmunds Area Working Party. Paul was Chairman of the council's Democratic Renewal Panel and remains a member.
On 13th March 2008 he was re-elected to represent Abbeygate ward on the Town Council and on 4th June 2009 he was elected to Suffolk County Council representing the Tower division, which is approximately half of the town. In September 2010 Paul reduced his workload for health reasons. He resigned from his cabinet and committee chairman posts and also left the county council. He now concentrates his energies full time into representing his 3,600 residents in Abbeygate ward.
Paul Farmer’s voluntary work has included the following: organist & choirmaster at the churches of Walsham le Willows, Westhorpe &; Finningham; Bury St Edmunds schools’ governor; membership of the West Suffolk Primary Care Trust Shadow Patients’ Forum and the Chartered Management Institute’s conciliation panel.
In 2006 he organised a “pianathon”, which raised £600 for the St Nicholas Hospice and. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 his Christmas Fayre performances also helped this charity, and he has played occasionally at the Apex to raise further amounts. Paul also founded and ran his own national registered charity, The Men’s Health Trust, which was the first in the UK to deal exclusively with all male health issues. His TV appearances in connection with this work included Esther, The Really Useful Show and Sky News.
Paul has written 14 music education books with total sales of over a third of a million copies. His leisure interests include walking, reading and playing the piano.