Local MP Alan Mak has paid tribute to long-serving former Havant Borough Councillors Gwen Blackett and Brendan Gibb-Gray, who have both sadly passed away recently.
Mrs Blackett represented the Purbrook Ward as a borough councillor from May 1973 to May 2018, making her the borough's longest-standing member. During her time she served on 77 committees and represented the council on 59 outside bodies. She also took up the role of Deputy Mayor of Havant in 1980/81 and then Mayor in 1981/1982. In 2018 she was awarded the prestigious title of Honorary Alderman, shortly after she retired as a councillor. To mark the occasion, a tree was planted in the grounds of the Public Service Plaza in Havant.
Mr Gibb-Gray became a councillor in 2004 after a long and distinguished career in the police force. He served continuously until 2016, when his service was recognised by him becoming an Honorary Alderman. During his time as a Councillor, he held office as Vice Chairman of the Development Management Committee between 2007 and 2009 and also served on various panels and boards. He was instrumental in establishing the Emsworth St George's Day Military Parade in 2007, while his role as chair of the Emsworth Business Association meant he was a driving force in many successes, including being a strong influence in the provision of cycle routes.
In 2012 Mr Gibb-Gray was awarded the British Empire Medal for service in the community. He was also the driving force behind the Ems Valley Memorial Arboretum, which was launched in 2022.
Mr Mak said: "Both Gwen and Brendan devoted themselves to public service, working hard on behalf of residents and doing so much to improve life in our community. They will be much-missed and I send my condolences to their families. I enjoyed working with both of them, whether it was campaigning locally or attending events such as Emsworth's St. George's Day Parade."