A ‘LARGER than life’ character known for his passionate campaigning for justice, equality, nuclear disarmament and the environment has died of Covid-19.
Martin Gilbert was a much-loved Ulverstonian who was involved in a number of festivals and groups within the town.
The 81-year-old leaves behind his wife and partner of 33 years Joan Carroll, his three children Jeremy, Mary and Lucy and four grandchildren.
Mr Gilbert was born in London and moved to Southport then Nottingham where he trained as a social worker.
He lived in the United States for five years and finished his social working degree in San Francisco before returning to England. Mr Gilbert regularly visited the US to visit his daughter, Lucy, who resides in Portland.
He met his wife and fellow social worker Joan after moving to St Helen’s. Mrs Carroll moved to Ulverston for her work and was soon followed by Mr Gilbert who ‘fell in love’ with the town and its people.
“Martin absolutely loved it here,” Mrs Carroll said.
“He loved the community arts scene here and was involved in anything of that sort.”
Mr Gilbert was involved in Extinction Rebellion, Furness Traditions Festival, Ford Park, led the storytelling at Ulverston Candlelit Walk, volunteered at Barrow Foodbank and was a life-long member of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
Mrs Carroll said her late husband was a ‘true anarchist’ who believed in equality.
She said: “Martin was very involved in people, justice and equality. He did not stand by inequality or racism.
“He was a true anarchist – not what people think of anarchists but one who subscribed to its principles of a free society.
“If there was an XR protest, it was guaranteed he would be there. He used to go to all their meetings.
“He believed passionately in the cause.”
Mr Gilbert retired from social work ‘earlier than he would have liked’ due to his deteriorating health.
After this, Mr Gilbert got a part-time job at Liverpool John Moore University, working with mental health nurses.
Mrs Carroll described her late husband as a ‘loving’ person who was well-liked by all who knew him.
She said: “He was a larger-than-life character. He wasn’t a particularly big man but his character was ten feet tall.
“He was a very loving person. I never heard him say a bad word about anyone.
“He was outgoing and very tactile. He would meet someone new and be friends with them straight away. He had friends all over the country – and all of different generations too.
“Everybody seemed to know him in the town – he was a very well-known and well-liked person.”
Mrs Carroll praised the ‘outstanding’ care given to her late husband while at Furness General Hospital fighting Covid-19 and other health conditions.
She said: “Right from the consultant to the cleaner, all the staff were so considerate and caring of Martin.
“They really went above their job description to look after him.”
Mr Gilbert’s family is inviting all who knew him to attend the Hope and Anchor in Ulverston on April 17 from 2pm until 6pm for a celebration of Martin’s life.