HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a community champion who gave his all to the people of Beaminster.

Gil Streets, 82, died on Monday at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester.

In typical style, one of his last acts was to write a letter praising the dedication and hard work of the ‘wonderful’ team who cared for him in the ICU. The letter, posted on the Facebook page of Beaminster Youth Club, an organisation which he helped to save when funding was cut last year, has been shared more than 100 times.

Family and friends have paid tribute to a ‘generous, practical and highly respected’ man, who served as a town, district and county councillor over the years.

He moved to Beaminster with wife Ngaire in 1988 after visiting the town on a trip to see furniture at Parnham House. Mrs Streets said they both ‘fell in love’ with West Dorset.

Soon after moving to the area, Mr Streets was asked to stand as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Dorset County Council elections.

He gained the seat from the Conservative party and remained in the post for 12 years.

Mrs Streets said the phone ‘hadn’t stopped ringing’ with people paying their best wishes and sharing fond memories.
“He was a friend to everybody,” she added.

Mr Streets was born in 1934 in the Lincolnshire Wolds, and studied metallurgy at Imperial College, London. 

He was awarded the MBE for services to industrial relations while working for the Foreign Office in Gibraltar.

Earlier this year he was elected an Honorary Townsperson by Beaminster Town Council, recognition of the ‘significant contributions’ he has made to the ‘life and well-being of the town.’

Cllr Chris Turner, chairman of the town council and a close friend of Mr Streets, said: “He was very highly regarded. A low key character in many ways, but one of those people who, if someone asked him to help with something he would, if at all possible, roll up his sleeves and give a hand with whatever was needed.

“He was a very generous, practical person and a friend to many. A lot of people thought very highly of him, and still do.”

A minute’s silence was held at a town council meeting on Monday to remember him.

Paula Buxton, of Beaminster Youth Club, said he had given ‘immense support’ to the club, adding ‘we wouldn’t be here without him’. Mr Streets was the club’s chairman, and became heavily involved when Dorset County Council cut funding for youth clubs last year.

Mrs Streets said her husband was ‘inspired by the brilliant work’ Paula was undertaking with disadvantaged children.

Paula added: “We will keep Beaminster youth club going in his name.”

Mr Streets is survived by Ngaire, two children, Judith and Marcus, and two grandchildren, Mathilda and Gabriel.

His funeral will be held at Higher Ground Meadow, Underhill Farm Corscombe, at 2pm on Thursday, December 14, followed by a reception in the public hall in Fleet Street, Beaminster. Mrs Streets has requested no flowers, but donations will be accepted for the ICU at DCH and for Beaminster Youth Club.