Family’s tribute to ‘devoted’ Sudbury grandfather who was ingrained in the community
PUBLISHED: 11:30 15 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:55 15 September 2020
Sudbury stalwart Arthur Gill, known by many as ‘Mr Gill the gas man’, has died at the age of 87 after decades of serving his community.
The former voluntary police officer from Hawstead, near Bury St Edmunds, spent more than 38 years working at the Gas Service store in Sudbury’s Market Hill and was known in the town for being a “true salesman”.
He died on Friday, August 14 and has been described by his eldest son Malcolm as a “great father”, who would do anything for anyone.
Mr Gill loved volunteering in his community as well as working at the gas service store – where before the internet people would have to go in to pay their gas bills.
He left school at 15 and began working at an accounts office, before being called up to the national service in 1951. He served for two years and reached the rank of sergeant.
He left the army and obtained his first job as a clerk at a gas company, later going on to becoming a wagers clerk in central Ipswich, before securing a managerial position at the Gas Service store in Sudbury – where he would go onto work for almost four decades.
Mr Gill and his wife Margaret moved into a flat above the store with their son Malcolm, now 61, and daughter Michelle, now 59.
Their eldest son Malcolm, said his father was “well-known” by many people in the town who knew him as ‘Mr Gill the gas man’.
“He was a very good salesman,” said Mr Gill. “He thoroughly enjoyed his job and revelled in the fact that even after retiring he could go into the town and everyone would know him.”
The company relocated to North Street and in 1968 they moved to their first family home in Tudor Street following the arrival of their youngest child Alistair, now 52.
Alongside his full-time job, Mr Gill volunteered as a special constable for Suffolk Constabulary for more than 20 years, having missed the discipline of the army.
In 1977, he was awarded a commemorative silver jubilee medal from the Queen in recognition of his services, something which he was very proud of.
Mr Gill said: “My dad would do anything for anyone, he was very organised and he was very proud of what he had achieved.
“When he retired and had more free time, he became a devoted grandfather. He had six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, the youngest was born in July and has been named Arthur James after my father, who got to meet him once through the window.”
Mr Gill and his wife Margaret divorced in 1977 after more than 20 years together.
He later met Margaret Waldron, from Sudbury, who became his close companion and dance partner for more than 35 years before her death in 2012.
Mr Gill was made redundant from the gas company in 1992, taking early retirement.
He devoted his time to dancing with Margaret, spending time with his family and remaining proactive in the community.
This included volunteering for Mencap charity, becoming president of Sudbury Probus Club, a group for retired professionals and business people, and sitting on the Sudbury and District Chamber of Commerce.
He was also a long-time member of the Sudbury branch of the Royal British Legion and was very proud to lay a wreath on Remembrance Sunday five years ago.
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