Essex coronavirus: Son’s tribute to ‘Chelmsford legend’ who died after contracting Covid-19

A son has paid tribute to his dad who sadly handed away after contracting coronavirus.

92-year-old Cliff Gilbey, described as a ‘native legend’ by his son Colin, was a well-liked determine in sure circles in Chelmsford, Essex.

He was well-known for the half he performed in constructing most of the metropolis’s buidlings, together with Chelmsford Police Station.

Over the previous few weeks, Cliff was admitted to hospital after struggling a number of falls.

Whereas in hospital, he was examined for coronavirus which was confirmed final weekend.

He was despatched again residence once more, however Cliff’s signs turned worse. He was readmitted however sadly died on Wednesday (April 1).

Lots of have paid tribute to Cliff off the again of a Fb submit by Colin, and plenty of locals have shared their fond reminiscences of him.

That is Cliff’s story, as informed by his son.

“A self-made man”

Cliff had lived in Essex for many of his life


Cliff was born in Finchingfield, Essex in 1928, and was the youngest of six youngsters.

He left college aged 14 to work within the building business throughout the Second World Battle.

His son, Colin, 56, described him as a tough employee.

He stated: “He had the chance to be a thatcher like his dad, however after serving to him out with a number of jobs he determined it wasn’t for him.

“He needed to work on the railways, however his mum would not let him so he began working within the constructing business.”

When he was younger, Cliff was ‘mischievous’ in line with his household.

Colin added: “He was labelled the black sheep of the household, however he had essentially the most thrilling lifetime of all of his siblings.

“He had his personal thoughts, he was a self-made man and he did not know the that means of giving up.”

In 1960, Cliff moved to Chelmsford and it was right here that he met his beloved spouse, Kath.

Cliff and his spouse Kath

Based on Colin, the pair fell in love right away and by the top of the 12 months they had been married.

He stated: “He was a easy talker my dad.

“Each of them had been a bit bit misplaced with their lives, however then they met one another and every part began to make sense.

“That they had us 4 youngsters and so they lived an incredible life collectively.”

Colin defined how his mother and father had an ‘adventurous retirement’ collectively.

He stated: “Dad cherished to drive, he was an actual automobile fanatic. Him and mum would go in all places.

“They by no means actually left the UK however they went on about 4 holidays a 12 months.

“They might go all around the UK for holidays, they might simply take off and go.”

Cliff and Kath met in 1960

Cliff was devoted to his work with a view to present for his household. 

Colin stated: “Dad would exit very early within the morning to work.

“He would come at round 5.30pm – typically he would sit down however he would often do one thing like adorning or working within the shed.

“He was by no means at a standstill.

“After we had been youngsters he would at all times be up for a tickle struggle or enjoying.”

Colin stated that his mother and father gave him a ‘great childhood’ and that his dad might ‘make lots out of a bit’.

Cliff’s later years weren’t precisely quiet – he had 12 grandchildren and one nice grandchild.

And he was simply as superb together with his grandchildren as he was with Colin and his siblings.

Colin added: “When dad’s mobility went a bit, he at all times regarded ahead to seeing his grandchildren.

“He actually cherished them.

“Every time we held huge household dos he could be just like the patriarch.”

A neighborhood legend

Cliff was 92 when he sadly died of coronavirus

Cliff lived in Chelmsford with Kath for the remainder of his life, and it was there that he actually made his title as a builder.

He labored with a number of corporations, together with Trigg and Moore’s, Franklin’s and Frederick J French.

Lots of his work may be seen all through Chelmsford, together with the police station.

Colin at all times thinks of his dad when he’s in Chelmsford.

He stated: “As you drive round Chelmsford you possibly can see his work.

“There isn’t a method he shall be forgotten, he helped construct a lot.”

It’s one thing that has, in some unspecified time in the future, touched all our lives.

From cradle to grave, the Nationwide Well being Service, and the unimaginable professionals inside it who take care of us, is part of British life.

Right now, greater than ever, we should always cherish those that dedicate themselves to our care, heedless of personal well being as they work tirelessly to take care of individuals within the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

We now have by no means wanted our medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and different carers extra.

So let’s present them some love, and create a residing map of gratitude from each nook of Britain – go to to drop a coronary heart on the map wherever you might be on this planet.

By dropping a coronary heart on the map, you’re saying you recognize the efforts undertaken day by day within the NHS.

Thanks 1,000,000, NHS employees – we love you.

Colin posted on an area Fb group yesterday to share the information that his dad had handed away.

He was ‘overwhelmed’ by the quantity of people that responded, with greater than 1000 reacting to his submit.

It proved to him how many individuals within the metropolis knew and revered Cliff. 

Colin stated: “I wasn’t anticipating such an enormous response. I’m so happy with my dad.”

We’ll be updating our web site day by day to cowl the great and optimistic tales from communities throughout Essex/Herts/Cambridgeshire proper now. Please keep in mind to go to to point out the superb NHS how a lot all of us recognize their laborious work.

Cliff’s battle with COVID-19

In the previous few weeks of his life, Cliff suffered quite a lot of falls at residence and was admitted to hospital due to one in all them.

While in hospital he was additionally examined for coronavirus, and final weekend informed that his take a look at was optimistic.

He was again at residence struggling with the virus when he began to wrestle to breath.

Cliff was then taken again into hospital and sadly died on Wednesday (April 1).

Colin stated: “There was nothing that might be completed.

“He was placed on a ventilator however he was struggling to breath.

“Happily all of us acquired to talk to him over the cellphone earlier than he handed away.”

Cliff had a historical past of affected by chest infections, and would typically get them within the winter.

Colin stated: “He was very outdated, however he was a troublesome outdated chicken.

“He was fairly frail being 92, and I feel he had been affected by a slight chest an infection.”

Colin’s mum Kath is now having to self-isolate. Colin says she is beginning to come to phrases with the lack of Cliff however is having to take it day-by-day.

Happily she hasn’t displayed any Covid-19 signs herself.

Nonetheless, Colin and his brother each have signs and are each additionally self-isolating.

“Some individuals do not realise how critical that is”

Cliff’s title is well-known throughout Chelmsford


Colin stated it has made him offended to see that some individuals are nonetheless ignoring the scientific recommendation and guidelines imposed in lockdown.

He stated: “I feel most individuals in the best thoughts perceive, however some individuals do not realise how critical that is.

“It is typically solely if you lose one in all your family members that you just perceive the dimensions of it.”

Cliff at all times taken care of himself and had completed all he might to guard himself from the virus.

However sadly, the virus can have an effect on anybody.

He stated: “Dad by no means put himself in any hazard.

“For the previous few weeks he had been actually strict following the principles.

“After we had been allowed to go spherical he would make us wash our fingers as quickly as we walked in.”

Colin believes it is vital for individuals to remain knowledgeable about what’s going on, however does not need individuals to let the virus take over their lives.

He stated: “It is necessary to know what’s going on, however there may be a lot extra to the world.

“The world is a beautiful place – we had my dad for 92 years.”

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