Derek Gibson 1927-2022

Derek Gibson MBE 1927-2022

Derek Gibson, MBE, has died aged 94.  On 1st April this year, the town of Bridgwater lost one of it’s greatest proponents, a man who led the fight for the preservation of the town’s heritage, the enhancement of educational provision and the encouragement of professionals and business leaders to engage positively in the community. All through his time in Bridgwater Derek wasn’t afraid to stand up to the establishment which he was also proud to be part of, being awarded an MBE. Derek’s service was held at Sedgemoor crematorium on Friday 29th April with testimony to his life given by his wife and sons to the tune of  Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ and concluded with Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.

Henry Atherton Derek Gibson was born in 1927 in Monmouthshire to a committed Methodist family although he was not especially religious. At the end of World War Two Derek was conscripted into the Royal Engineers and served in the Army of the Rhine interrupting his study of Architecture at the Welsh School of Architecture from which he finally qualified in. He moved to the Bridgwater area in 1954, following his parents who had retired to Goathurst, and worked for a few months for the Borough Architect of Bridgwater and then for the local firm of architects Steer & Shirley-Smith eventually becoming a partner of the company in 1962, and took over the Bridgwater office in 1967. He served for a time as treasurer and secretary of the South and West Group of the Bristol Society of Architects, then, after it reformed as the Somerset Branch of the Royal Institute of British Architects, serving two years as Branch Chairman. He retired from the architectural practice in 1998

In 1958 Derek married Olga Warren, a solicitor, and they had one daughter, and three sons, twins Julian and Nicholas, Fiona and Timothy

Derek was a tireless advocate of the preservation of historic building, getting involved in the Arts Centre seving on its management committee and was involved with the Blake Drama Club. Derek became a devoted member of the Bridgwater Round Table and later the Rotary Club of which he was twice president and would become its longest-serving member.

Founder of Bridgwater Civic Society

Derek is particularly known for the creation in 1971 of the Bridgwater and District Civic Society, and its important work in the preservation of the town’s heritage

He had little sympathy for Sedgemoor District Council with its out-of-town councillors who could wield so much power over the town,

In 2010 Derek was awarded an MBE in recognition of his tireless work for and around the Civic Society, Rotary and Bridgwater College.

Dereks full biography by Miles Kerr-Peterson can be found here.

The life of Derek Gibson