Lights trib­ute to a loving fa­ther

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

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.

Pic­ture: Dave Downey PD1518460

Brian and Ann Gil­bert with their neigh­bour’s son James Steel, 10, with their lights dis­played for the Pil­grims Hospice

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