Vicky Angear Weston Mercury Published: August 4, 2021
Former mayor Cyril King presenting the Borough Shield to Terry Gilbert in 2012. – Credit: Archant
The family of Terry Gilbert, who dedicated his life to making Weston a better place, have paid tribute to their ‘hero’ who has inspired them to continue his legacy of fundraising.
Terry died on July 22, aged 75, after a short battle with cancer. Terry was involved with a number of community groups in the town – helping to organise big events in Weston and raising money for numerous charities.
He is survived by his wife Rose, and their three children, Julie, Suzanne and Jonathan, who have been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received since his death. They said: “As a family, it has been incredible the support we have received. The cards are in their hundreds, which just confirmed how amazing our father was.
“The love he had for supporting the town influenced us as children, with us becoming members of different groups. We plan to continue the fundraising in his name.
“We have been very blessed and will always be thankful for the amazing family man he was. Our thanks and support to mum who cared for dad tirelessly in his last days. Also, to Osborne care home who made it possible for us to meet all of dad’s wishes.
Terry was diagnosed with cancer in October 2020, and spent his final months spending quality time with his family. Before his death, he penned a moving message to his loved ones, which his family put up on his Facebook page.
It reads: “Well, if you are reading this, I have moved on to my maker! Trust me, I am happy to have done this. I had an amazing life.
“When asked what can I share, I would say find a way to be content which always brings happiness. In a great saying, having a glass full is so important. My glass was always full – never halfway and certainly never empty. Find the good in everything and everyone. It is possible! I always went for a peaceful life! Even with three children and a wife!
“I am so proud of my children and grandchildren, watching them grow into the people they are today.. my children made my life special. My amazing wife. What a life we had. Until we meet again. Some of my best times were in the sky…so look up, I’m there.”
As well as being a doting family man, Terry was involved in numerous community groups, and made it his mission to make Weston a better place to live.
He was a business advisor with the North Somerset Enterprise Agency and helped a huge number of companies starting up in the area. He joined Weston Rotary in 2009 and was made a Paul Harris Fellow in recognition of his generous support of The Rotary Foundation.
Known as ‘Mr Reliable’, he loved to solve problems and served the club with ‘empathy, dedication and a mischievous sense of fun’.
Weston Rotary said: “Terry, with his wife Rose, was a generous host of charity functions at their home, raising thousands of pounds for local charities. A phenomenal networker, Terry’s contacts book and Facebook following were often called upon to find a sponsor for a new initiative or an interesting speaker for an event.
“Terry brought a lot of new members into Weston Rotary, including his daughter Suzanne, and son John. A generation of new Rotarians will remember Terry as the welcoming presence at their first meeting. His many friends in Rotary, in Weston and beyond, will miss his happy, optimistic approach and his determination to live life to the full.”
Terry set up Weston Arts Social Enterprise to bring more arts, music and entertainment into Weston. He brought the Dairy Festival back to Weston in 2015 after a 50-year gap, and also stepped in to organise Weston Carnival after the death of Brian Coombs.
Terry worked with a number of town leaders and businesses over the years. Cllr Mark Canniford said: “I genuinely feel the town has lost one of its huge characters and will miss him greatly, but he has left many of us richer for knowing him “
Michelle Michael, director of Weston’s Grand Pier added: “Terry was a lovely person, always a very happy and jolly person, steadfast about fundraising and very proud to live and work in Weston.
“I have worked with Terry over many fundraising projects and it was a real privilege to have been able to do so. He has left a wonderful legacy for his family.”
Terry was one of eight business leaders who were locked on the pier in 2012 to raise money for Weston Hospicecare.
Steve Townsend, Weston’s town centre and BID manager described Terry as a mentor and loyal friend who ‘seemed ‘to know everyone in town’.
He said: “He was a great person to work with. When Brian Coombs passed away, the carnival wouldn’t have happened.
“But Terry just stepped in and made it happen. He was able to put a really good team around him quickly because people enjoyed working with him and trusted him.
“He was such a nice guy. He was always happy, always smiling and he helped so many small businesses get to where they needed to be. On a personal note, he was always prepared to go over and above.
“Nothing was every too much trouble for him. He will be hugely missed by us. He was one in a million.”
Cllr Roz Willis and Terry Gilbert have known each other since the 1970s and worked together to help numerous charities. She said Terry and Rose were ‘always there to help anyone’.
She added: “What a man – not great in size, but great In what a human is. I have loved and respected him for many years – a very, very dear friend, who would give you his everything to help.
“He will be missed by so many people. There are many people who aren’t even aware he helped them. Thank you to a wonderful man.”
Terry’s funeral is being held at Weston Crematorium on August 6 at 10.30am, followed by a celebration of life at the Royal Hotel. Everyone who knew Terry is welcome to go along.