Ifield Society’s last Ramblette before Christmas will be dedicated to Geraint Thomas – Saturday [Dec 7] – 11am at The Plough in Ifield Village [return by 12.30]. All welcome.
Tributes have been paid after the sudden death of the highly respected Crawley Councillor Geraint Thomas on Wednesday (27th Nov) at his home.
Geraint, who had been an Ifield resident since 1987 and lived in Crawley all his life, had worked in the council since first being elected as a Northgate councillor in 2009.
Previous to this, he had worked as a geography teacher at two Crawley schools, St Wilfrid’s and Hazelwick before he retired after 31 years in 2005.
After his election as Northgate borough councillor in 2009, he was active in the formation of Northgate Matters residents group, helping to organise a meeting with outside speakers from both sides about the possible second runway at Gatwick.
A keen walker and cyclist, he promoted not only the development of cycle paths but also the need to discourage cyclists from using busy public footpaths.
Geraint was active in various committees on the borough council – notably Planning – and was a prominent debater in the council chamber.
A great supporter of West Sussex Library Service he took great exception to the Conservative County Council’s decision to allow the use of Crawley Library premises for ‘Amazon lockers’ given that multinational company’s poor record on paying tax and its employment practices.
Geraint spent some years as a Community Governor at Northgate Primary School.
Despite his many council and other commitments, Geraint managed to pursue various wider interests such as watching rugby, reading, gardening, cycling, walking and making and listening to music.
In 2013, he was involved in research about the effects of the First World War on people in West Sussex using local newspapers as part of a West Sussex County Council project that culminated in the publication of a book ‘West Sussex: Remembering 1914-18’ edited by Martin Hayes and Emma White.
Geraint was instrumental in moving a beautiful hand-written scroll detailing the men of the village of Lowfield Heath who were killed in World War 1 from the now redundant St Michael and All Angels church in Lowfield Heath to Crawley Museum.
Since 2016, Geraint was the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability at the Borough Council and worked hard to improve recycling rates and sustainable transport in Crawley.
Natalie Brahma-Pearl, Chief Executive of Crawley Borough Council, said:
“It is with deep sadness that I share with you the passing of Councillor Geraint Thomas, who died on Wednesday at his home.
“Our thoughts are with Geraint’s wife and family, friends and close council colleagues as they come to terms with this sad news.
“The town has lost someone who was passionate about serving others. From his many years teaching geography in the town, to his 10 years serving his constituents as a councillor in Northgate and Ifield wards and three years as Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, Geraint was a passionate advocate for the environment.”
A minute’s silence will observed at the next Full Council meeting on Monday 16 December. The council’s flag will be flown at half-mast on the day of the funeral.
Steve Eldridge I am sorry. He helped me with an issue and I couldn’t have wished for a more helpful councillor, despite our opposite political viewpoints. He was a true old school councillor who wanted to help his town. He will be sorely missed and extremely hard to replace. RIP.
Debi Bye Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this x May he Rest In Peace. Deepest condolences to his family. He was a great teacher and did so much as a councillor for Ifield.
Pamela Jean Vanstone O no he was such a nice man & teacher & one of the best councillors RIP Geraint
PS he helped me with so many things will be so missed
Wendy Hinton There was a Geraint Thomas in my class at Pound Hill Primary in the 1950s. Would this be the same person?
Sharon Burgess Wendy Hinton I remember him too 😢
Jessie Paton Ooh so sorry to hear this went to Hazelwick & spoke with Geraint later at Community events; he was social-minded & extremely selfless giving a great deal of time for the benefit of others; condolences to his family & friends….
Ali Rennie RIP Geraint. Loved our chats about rugby.
Jan Waller Great teacher 😥
Dec 1 2019 – Richard W. Symonds
The main reason why this ramblette is dedicated to Geraint Thomas is because this email was received from him (Nov 18) – just a week or so ago before his death:
I would love to come on one of these walks but as I’m sure you will understand such times are ‘prime time’ for general election canvassing across the town which I am afraid must take priority at the moment…