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Lt. Col. Gilbert Talbot 1918-2007

From the Parish Council

The death of Colonel Gilbert Talbot brings great sadness and loss to the community; we as the Parish Council have lost a stalwart supporter and ambassador.

It is hard to imagine not having Gilbert there at every major village event and celebration. How we will all miss the Colonel leading the parade on Armistice Day and always being able to call on him (even if asked at the last minute) to say exactly the right words for any occasion. It didnít matter what village project or event was taking place, Gilbert was always willing to give his help and support.

We have been privileged as a community to have Gilbert living amongst us, how he dealt with ALL members of our community both young and old is an example to us, and a legacy we must not lose.

He was the perfect "Gentleman", the Oxford Dictionaryís definition is "a man of honourable and kindly behaviour" absolutely true of Gilbert and a great testimony to a very special man.

Celia Collett

From the Royal British Legion

Gilbert Talbot was a lovely man who loved the village and who was loved equally in return.

To our branch of the Royal British Legion, Gilbert was a great president, always ready to help and a regular attendee at our branch meetings. He had a good sense of humour and will be sadly missed. During 2006 Gilbertís main aim was to complete the book of remembrance and have it installed in St Agathaís Church on Remembrance Sunday. He had so much admiration for the late Eddie Sinclair who researched into the history behind the names on the war memorial. We know he was very moved to see the vicar bless the book and place it in the cabinet in the church.

He will be sadly missed by the branch especially on Remembrance Sunday when he headed the parade with quiet skill and dignity which everyone could admire.

John Wardle

From the Flower and Produce Show

There can't be many men left in the village who raise their hats to everyone they meet, but this simple act of old world courtesy was typical of Gilbert Talbot. His personal charm and gentlemanliness, his strong sense of duty and complete absence of snobbishness will be sorely missed.

It is hard to believe that Gilbert will not be there for this year's Flower and Produce Show. His wonderful hooting laugh, infectious enthusiasm and generous hospitality have been an essential part of the event for decades. But even though we will not have his physical presence, the annual battle for the Talbot Cup will continue. His memory will live on, too, in the shared jokes. The enormous pot lilies that re-appeared every year until they were too heavy for the table; Bruno the dog, who single-handedly demolished Cecil Western's Dundee Cake.

Gilbert had a wide network of friends made through gardening. Elected the first president of the Wallingford Allotment and Gardens Society in 1983, he became involved in the village Flower and Produce Show not long afterwards. The W.I. had run the show for many years, but - although one or two members were willing to carry on as a committee member - they wanted to hand over responsibility. Cecil Western suggested that Gilbert would do the job very well. As she recalls: 'Vi Smith asked me to ask him to do it, and I said "No, because he will find it quite easy to refuse me if he doesn't want it, but I don't think he'll say No to you". So she did, and he agreed and has done it ever since, in his own particular way.'

Paul Chilton succeeded Gilbert as Chairman in 1997, but Gilbert remained in an honorary role and still took a strong interest. Every show morning would find him seated behind the tent armed with coffee, chocolate biscuits and strong drink. He would ply the judges with gin and tonic (only after judging was finished, it has to be said!), and the gales of laughter emanating from his table added enormously to the joy of the occasion. Every year he would say 'You don't really need me, do you? ' But the event was unthinkable without him. He was absent one year, for VE Day anniversary celebrations in London, and he was sadly missed, as he will be now.

Sally Dugan

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