Shock as city mayor dies after collapse on scuba-diving trip
THE Mayor of Cambridge has died suddenly while on a scuba-diving holiday with his wife in South Africa.
Nigel Gawthrope, 61, collapsed on Friday after surfacing from a dive and feeling unwell. The exact cause of his death is unknown.
The keen scuba diver and underwater photographer was with his wife Jenny at a diving resort in Durban.
Mr Gawthrope, who was described as a popular local figure, had been in office as mayor for eight months.
He was first elected as a Labour councillor in 2012 to represent King’s Hedges ward. Among the first to pay tribute was Labour council leader Lewis Herbert who said he had served “with distinction and panache”.
He added: “Our thoughts and emotions are with his wife Jenny so far away, and with Nigel’s family and close friends at this truly horrible time.
“Nigel was a one-off. He will be hugely missed and long remembered on the council, but even more so by his Labour colleagues as a friend.”
Labour MP for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner, wrote on Twitter: “So sad to hear the shocking news about my good friend and comrade Nigel Gawthrope. Cambridge robbed of the remainder of his mayoralty and we’ve all lost a true man of the people.”
East of England MEP Alex Mayer said Mr Gawthrope had been a “committed ward councillor... who always greeted you with a smile”. Labour councillor Kevin Price said he and Mr Gawthrope “shared a history of trades union activism within the printing industry. He loved representing the ward where he grew up and many residents will share our deep shock and sadness at his untimely death”.
Cambridge City Council said: “Our thoughts are with Jenny, his family, friends and close council colleagues as they come to terms with this devastating loss.” Mr Gawthrope worked at Cambridge University Press, Judge Business School and latterly as a porter at Clare College, Cambridge. He was also a charity fundraiser.
FoodCycle Cambridge said: “He and the Mayoress joined us in the kitchen with so much enthusiasm last year, and we really valued their support.”