Lights tribute to a loving father
ford Pilgrim’s Hospice, died suddenly on Sunday.
Now his widow says the lights at their home in Church Hill, Kingsnorth, will stay on in tribute to her husband.
Ann Gilbert, 66, said: “I will leave the lights on until New Year’s Day. It’s what he would have wanted. It will be in tribute to him and also to continue to raise money for charity.”
Mr Gilbert died of a heart attack on Sunday night, eight days after the switch-on on December 6.
The couple had originally decided not to continue the tradition this year because of the cost of electricity rocketing and Mr Gilbert suffering a stroke last year.
He also had a history of heart trouble.
But they were persuaded to carry on by supporters and agreed to try to top the £300 figure raised for the hospice last year.
The Gilberts had been decorating their house since 1997 and have used the lights to aid the hospice since 2006, when they collected almost £100 in the first week.
In 2005 they had been targeted by Scrooges who told them their house had an “offensively bright and elaborate lighting display.”
The attack came in a leaflet to their home from the Campaign for a Shorter Christmas, which believes that the festive season is over-commercialised, but no neighbours had complained and the lights attracted visitors from outside the area.
The couple had been married for 20 years and Mr Gilbert, a retired warehouseman and lorry driver, had lived in Kingsnorth all his life.
He had three daughters, Jackie Catt, 47, Tina Gilbert, 42, and Tracy Gilbert, 40. Ann is their stepmother.
Tina said: “He was an extremely popular man in the town who made everybody laugh. He was joyous and fun loving and a very loved man.”
The funeral is at Kingsnorth Church and then Charing Crematorium with the wake at the Singleton Barn at Hoxton Close, Singleton.
This is expected to be next Tuesday but mourners can contact Earl and Co funeral directors on 01233 620522 to confirm date and times.
Family flowers only are requested and mourners are invited to give donations to the British Heart Foundation.
Brian and Ann Gilbert with their neighbour’s son James Steel, 10, with their lights displayed for the Pilgrims Hospice