We are incredibly sad to share news that Councillor Andy Gill died peacefully in hospital on Thursday morning. The Town Council would like to pay tribute to Andy and to pass on our heartfelt condolences to Andy’s family.
After many years of asking, Mr Andy Gill who was extremely well known throughout the town, finally stood for election in the Prudhoe South ward of Tynedale Council and as a Town Councillor for Prudhoe Town Council. In a landslide victory, with 46% of the votes, Councillor Andy Gill was elected, and he served the Town admirably from that day in 2007 until now.
Throughout the town there will be many stories and memories of Andy, that we hope can be shared in his honour, for family and friends to read, or listen to when the time is right.
Many will remember Andy as the proprietor of Regency Reproductions, a remarkably successful furniture shop on Front Street. Others as a familiar face and active contributor to Prudhoe Town Fair, the Prudhoe Chamber of Trade and the highly celebrated Prudhoe Christmas Lights of days gone by.
Andy was a man of detail, he was often first to point out a problem, but more often than not he was also first to solve it. Andy was a hands-on Councillor, who was active at every event and on many committees.
Never one to pass up a practical challenge, we recall the 5-foot staircase on wheels Andy built for Highfield Fest in 2015 and 2016. Not satisfied with a step ladder for Mayor, Cllr Eileen Burt and band members to get off and on the flatbed truck (that was being used as a stage) Andy set to designing and building a wooden staircase, which he later used to cut his hedge.
Anyone who has ever been involved in a project with Andy, will know that he has every piece of equipment and tool known to man, he could have run a hire shop, and he was never without cable-ties. In 2018, Andy ensured all the Town’s Remembrance wreaths were secured to the railings of St. Mary Magdalene Church, 28 in total – they looked great and were much admired in their new spot. However, he had his doubts and spent a number of months thinking over a better solution, and it would pop up in conversation from time to time. On the run-up to Remembrance 2019 Andy presented his design to hold each wreath in place, an invention to trump the cable-tie. His materials were sourced from Rickerby’s, how he even thought of recycling the metal bands used on large pallets, we will never know – he was certainly inventive.
Making, mending, and managing were a huge part of Andy’s character. When Andy visited Highfield Middle School, he noticed their wooden badger sculpture was in need of some TLC, “I can sort that”, and he did and it still stands in pride of place now, never having looked better.
The Prudhoe Christmas Lights were close to Andy’s heart as a Councillor, as he had been so involved with them as a volunteer. The arrival of the Town’s Christmas tree always brought much consternation. In Andy’s eyes it was never quite right, to the point that in 2019 he offered to accompany the supplier on the cut; he didn’t when we learned it was coming from far Scotland with a very early morning trip. Andy was always on site for the arrival of the tree, with ropes, and chocks and a mallet. Andy was a doer and often had to be reminded that those the far side of 70 are maybe not best placed to be scrambling around under 18-foot Christmas trees.
When we are able to host Highfield Fest again, Andy’s logistics will be well remembered. He was car park set-up and supervisor, whatever the weather. Even with a rota of Councillors and volunteers ready to help, it was difficult to get Andy to leave his pitch; he thoroughly enjoyed being involved.
There will be a huge void in our Council with Andy’s passing and he will be sadly missed but warmly remembered and revered.
Our deepest sympathies are with Andy’s family, for whom his loss will be greatest.