‘True gentleman’ and former Havant mayor Gerry Shimbart is remembered at poignant public memorial service at St George’s Church in Waterlooville

COUNCILLORS, family members and friends united to bid a final farewell to a former mayor and 'true gentleman'.

Sunday, 24th March 2019, 8:54 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th March 2019, 9:26 pm
Crowds of Gerry Shimbart's friends and family pour out of St George's Church in Waterlooville after the public service that celebrated his life. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (240319-23)

Extra chairs had to be laid out as a public memorial service celebrating the life of late councillor Gerry Shimbart filled St George's Church in Waterlooville on Sunday afternoon. 

It followed the 74-year-old’s former Havant mayor’s intimate closed funeral on Friday. 

In a poignant eulogy from Reverend Ray Chapman, crowds of Gerry’s loved ones heard tales of his exploits and passions – as the former tailor was hailed a ‘caring person with a strong social conscience’. 

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Former Havant mayor, the late Gerry Shimbart, getting a peck on the cheek from his wife, Elaine, in 2012. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121614-3)

‘He was very much a doer, not a passenger, and he was always committed to what he did without fail,’ said Rev Chapman. 

‘It had been a difficult time over the last 18 months bit he showed determination and kept going. 

‘Gerry will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.’  

Elaine Shimbart, centre, with her children, Robert Shimbart and Sam Burgess, and her grandchildren after the memorial service for her late husband, Gerry, at St George's Church, Waterlooville. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (240319-)

He leaves behind his wife Elaine, who also served alongside him as a councillor in Hart Plain, their two children and three grandchildren. 

Sunday’s ‘beautiful’ service opened with one of Gerry’s favourite pieces of opera music, The Prince Igor Overture, which was followed by heartfelt prayers and readings, before the congregation joined together in singing We’ll Meet Again by Vera Lynn. 

In a touching tribute, Cllr David Keast said: ‘Gerry was a great local councillor who cared passionately about his residents. He worked very hard for them and, with Elaine, they made a formidable team.’ 

He added: ‘I count myself as privileged to have known him.’ 

Surrounded by her loved ones, Mrs Shimbart said her late husband ‘would have been thrilled’ by the service and its turnout. 

‘Gerry planned a lot of this himself, but thanks to Father Ray and Father Colin Lawlor, this service did him proud,’ she said. 

‘I just want to thank everyone so much for being there.’