Connect with us

News

Sadness as much revered Ifield Councillor Geraint Thomas dies unexpectedly

Published

on

Tributes have been paid after the sudden death of the highly respected Crawley Councillor Geraint Thomas on Wednesday (27th Nov) at his home.

Geraint, who had been an Ifield resident since 1987 and lived in Crawley all his life, had worked in the council since first being elected as a Northgate councillor in 2009.

Previous to this, he had worked as a geography teacher at two Crawley schools, St Wilfrid’s and Hazelwick before he retired after 31 years in 2005.

After his election as Northgate borough councillor in 2009, he was active in the formation of Northgate Matters residents group, helping to organise a meeting with outside speakers from both sides about the possible second runway at Gatwick.

A keen walker and cyclist, he promoted not only the development of cycle paths but also the need to discourage cyclists from using busy public footpaths.

Geraint was active in various committees on the borough council – notably Planning – and was a prominent debater in the council chamber.

A great supporter of West Sussex Library Service he took great exception to the Conservative County Council’s decision to allow the use of Crawley Library premises for ‘Amazon lockers’ given that multinational company’s poor record on paying tax and its employment practices.

Geraint spent some years as a  Community Governor at Northgate Primary School.

Despite his many council and other commitments, Geraint managed to pursue various wider interests such as watching rugby, reading, gardening, cycling, walking and making and listening to music.

In 2013, he was involved in research about the effects of the First World War on people in West Sussex using local newspapers as part of a West Sussex County Council project that culminated in the publication of a book ‘West Sussex: Remembering 1914-18’ edited by Martin Hayes and Emma White.

Geraint was instrumental in moving a beautiful hand-written scroll detailing the men of the village of Lowfield Heath who were killed in World War 1 from the now redundant St Michael and All Angels church in Lowfield Heath to Crawley Museum.

Since 2016, Geraint was the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability at the Borough Council and worked hard to improve recycling rates and sustainable transport in Crawley.

Natalie Brahma-Pearl, Chief Executive of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“It is with deep sadness that I share with you the passing of Councillor Geraint Thomas, who died on Wednesday at his home. 

“Our thoughts are with Geraint’s wife and family, friends and close council colleagues as they come to terms with this sad news.

“The town has lost someone who was passionate about serving others. From his many years teaching geography in the town, to his 10 years serving his constituents as a councillor in Northgate and Ifield wards and three years as Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, Geraint was a passionate advocate for the environment.”

A minute’s silence will observed at the next Full Council meeting on Monday 16 December. The council’s flag will be flown at half-mast on the day of the funeral.

News

Crawley drink-driver almost four times legal limit “felt fine” to drive

Published

on

A motorist who caused this crash, while almost four times the drink-drive limit, said he “felt fine to drive”.

Lincoln Simmons was driving a blue Volkswagen Passat on the A23 London Road, Crawley, about 1pm on 2 December when he collided a black Renault Clio.

The impact caused the Clio to mount the roundabout and crash through road signage. The driver – a 53-year-old woman from Haywards Heath – sustained significant bruising.

The Passat failed to stop at the scene and was located a short distance away, near Gatwick Airport.

Simmons failed a roadside breath test, and was subsequently arrested and charged with failing to stop after a road traffic collision, and driving with 139mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35mcg.

In police interview, he stated he had consumed a litre of vodka the previous evening and a small bottle of whiskey prior to the crash, but claimed he is “used to drinking” so it “takes a lot of alcohol to feel the effects”.

The 48-year-old, who is unemployed, of Galahad Road, Crawley, pleaded guilty to both offences and was disqualified from driving for 32 months when he appeared before Crawley Magistrates’ Court on 11 February.

He was also given a 12-month community order requiring him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, and must pay £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said:

“One of the most common excuses we hear from drink-drivers is that they “felt fine” to drive. But even a small amount of alcohol has the ability to impair your judgement and reaction time.

“Feeling fine is not a good judgement of your ability to drive. If you drink and drive you are committing an offence which carries with it a risk of serious injury or death to yourself or someone else.

 “The bottom line is there is no excuse to drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Our priority is to keep everyone safe on our roads, and we will continue to crack down on anyone who compromises this.”

Continue Reading

Trending