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Lavenham pays tribute to long-serving councillor and community stalwart Philip Gibson

Philip Gibson at the Lavenham Literary Festival in 2017. Philip died on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at the age of 79. Photo by Mike Hodges. (6843749)
Philip Gibson at the Lavenham Literary Festival in 2017. Philip died on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at the age of 79. Photo by Mike Hodges. (6843749)

The loss of a veteran councillor, who made a significant impact on life in Lavenham, has been described as “a devastating shock to the village”.

Tributes have been paid to Philip Gibson, who died at West Suffolk Hospital on Wednesday, January 16, at the age of 79, having suffered a stroke the previous Sunday.

A member of the parish council for almost 20 years, Mr Gibson played a large role in village activities, including the Lavenham Guildhall, Community Woodland, Business Forum and the Wool Towns initiative.

As a parish and district councillor, he was heavily involved in creating the Lavenham Neighbourhood Development Plan, and the parish council’s purchase of the former Tourist Information Centre building.

Carroll Reeve, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, who had known him since 1996, told the Free Press: “He will be sorely missed as a key member of the council, and I will miss him as a confidant and friend.”

Mr Gibson was notably a board member for the Lavenham Literary Festival, along with his wife Wendy, since the event’s inception in 2009.

“He was a dedicated and enthusiastic board member,” said board chairman Susan Burton. “He would get stuck in and work very hard for us.

“That’s typical of how he was. He was very dedicated to the welfare of the village. Everyone in the village is going to miss him greatly.”

Mr Gibson was also part of the Lavenham Society for over 20 years, helping to produce the Village Design Statement, which gives planning guidance to this day.

Society chairman Jane Gosling said: “Philip worked tirelessly to make Lavenham a better place.

“To our meetings, he brought a wealth of knowledge, common sense and a wicked sense of humour.

“He loved Lavenham, and was loved by it in return, and he leaves a big Philip-shaped hole in all our lives.”

Mr Gibson was also a regular snooker player at the Lavenham Royal British Legion and local Scottish Country Dancing nights, and he was honoured at the annual Burns Night Supper in January.

Mr Gibson’s funeral will take place in the Church of St Peter and St Paul on Monday, February 11, at 1pm.


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