Family 'truly moved' as crowds remember building company founder

The funeral cortège makes its way through south Lowestoft ahead of a service of thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert

The funeral cortège makes its way through south Lowestoft at a service of thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

More than 250 people lined the streets to pay tribute to a well-respected building company founder during a poignant procession.

Ivan Gilbert, 79, was fondly remembered as a large turnout of people – all social distancing – gathered to honour the popular builder and dedicated charity worker.

A cavalcade of Gilbert vehicles preceded the hearse as a "particularly moving" procession of 14 of his company vehicles made its way through south Lowestoft on Monday, November 30.

The funeral cortège makes its way through south Lowestoft ahead of the service for the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert

The funeral cortège makes its way through south Lowestoft ahead of the service for the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

The funeral cortège was headed by a 1985 Bedford CF tipper, which was Mr Gilbert's first tipper truck with the original livery dating back to 1985.

A service of thanksgiving for the life of Mr Gilbert was held at the Holy Trinity Church, Gisleham with numbers limited due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

The order of service at the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert

The order of service at the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert. Picture: Gilbert family - Credit: Gilbert family

A father-of-two and grandfather-of-four, Mr Gilbert's voluntary involvement had spanned over 40 years while he was also a passionate Norwich City supporter.

Volunteers from St John Ambulance in Lowestoft were among those lining the route of the cortège.

The funeral cortège makes its way through south Lowestoft ahead of the service for the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert

The funeral cortège makes its way through south Lowestoft ahead of the service for the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert. Picture: The Gilbert family - Credit: The Gilbert family

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Tony Curd, St John Ambulance's president in Lowestoft, said he was proud to lead the contingent of St John volunteers who paid their respects to Mr Gilbert.

He said: "Ivan was well-respected in the local community and did so much for local charities, including St John Ambulance."

The funeral cortège prepares to make its way through south Lowestoft ahead of the service for the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert

The funeral cortège prepares to make its way through south Lowestoft ahead of the service for the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert. Picture: The Gilbert family - Credit: The Gilbert family

Among many others paying their respects were representatives from Lowestoft Lions, Gisleham Parish Council and Masonic members.

At the service ‘Abide with Me’ was played alongside ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

It also included bible readings, prayers, speeches and a presentation of memories, in memory of Ivan and Sylvia. 

The funeral cortège prepares to make its way through south Lowestoft ahead of the service for the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert

The funeral cortège makes its way through south Lowestoft ahead of the service for the thanksgiving for the life of Ivan Gilbert. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

Speaking afterwards, Mr Gilbert's son Richard said: ”As a family we were truly moved by the amount of people some 250 plus I've been told that had lined the streets to the church, each of them there to pay their respects for different reasons. 

"It was overwhelming for us under the Covid-19 restrictions.

"As a family we felt we did the best we could to allow others to share with us our loss on the day.

Tributes have been paid to Ivan Gilbert. Picture: The Gilbert family

Tributes have been paid to Ivan Gilbert. Picture: The Gilbert family - Credit: The Gilbert family

"The sheer number of cards, letters, messages and posts on our social media sites has also been overwhelming and of great comfort to us on the loss of our dear father.

"The number of people lining the route reflected the high esteem in which he was held."

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