Gordon Gillett (1945 to 2020)

gordongillettA victim of Covid19, Gordon sadly died in April this year in the Elizabeth Finn Care Home in Bradwell Village, just south of Burford, where he had been a resident for some 20 months. He was born in Kenya (as was I) at the end of WW2 and spent his childhood in East Africa. Being fellow Africans, he and I always greeted each other in Swahili, much to the amusement/curiosity of anyone within earshot. He was sent ‘home’ to England for his secondary education (weren’t we all!) at Malvern College (1958 -63). He then joined the Mercantile Bank for a brief period, before moving to Nestle in 1965, and on his 23rd birthday in 1968 he and Marian (nee Bullock) were married before setting off for 37 years as expatriates. 

Starting as a trainee Commodity Buyer, Gordon spent 41 years with Nestle, 30 years of which were at head office in Switzerland where he rose to Senior Management. Meanwhile he had spent five years in Ghana and two years in the USA, fathered two daughters and had two grandchildren.

On retirement in 2005, he and Marian settled in Shipton under Wychwood, initially purchasing Hartley’s Barn conversion and latterly moving to a new, purpose-built house in Upper High Street. Gordon threw himself into village life, playing both tennis and golf but more importantly perhaps, he was a founder member and subsequently leader of the Shipton Volunteers and was on the Board of Management of The Wild Garden. But while on holiday in Morocco in 2015 he suffered a fall that resulted a few weeks later in a stroke, that left him paralysed down one side. Confined to a wheelchair he and Marian could no longer stay in the barn conversion, and after a short spell in Leafield, they moved back to Shipton when their new house was completed. Sadly, his care needs increased, and his final months were spent at the comfortable care home where he was looked after by an excellent cadre of staff. Many of his friends in the village were regular visitors and he always knew exactly what was going on here in Shipton, a place he truly loved.

“Kwaheri Mzee” – (“Goodbye old man” in Swahili).

Hamish Harvey

August – September 2020