Tributes to former Derbyshire councillor who travelled to America to pass on his condolences to President George Bush after 9/11 terror attacks

Former Ripley mayor Maurice Gent
Former Ripley mayor Maurice Gent

The funeral of a former Amber Valley councillor who travelled more than 3,500 miles to pass on his condolences to President George Bush after 9/11 terror attacks will take place at the end of the month.

Councillor Maurice Gent, who was 83, died at Hollybank House in Oakerthorpe on October 29. His daughter, Karen Gent, paid tribute to her ‘dedicated’ and ‘generous’ father.

She said: “Dad was a real character, right up until the end. He was a big union man and was proud of his achievements as a councillor.

“He would go above and beyond for the people of Amber Valley. He once went to help an elderly neighbour at 2am on Christmas Day when she thought she was being burgled; it turned out to be a bird which had got into her conservatory and was making some noise! Dad was a proud man and was well respected by everyone who knew him. He received great care by staff at Hollybank House and the Glebe Field centre in Crich. He spent a lot of time there in the last few years of his life.”

Mr Gent was born in Ripley in 1935 and served over 31 years on the Amber Valley Borough Council.

The Labour member also stood as a councillor for Ripley Town Council and, in July 2000, he was awarded Freeman of the Borough of Amber Valley. He is one of only five former councillors to be given this honour.

Mr Gent spent four years as mayor of Ripley where highlights included opening the town’s charter fair and visiting the city in West Virginia – also called Ripley – to form a partnership between the two.

The United States was a country Mr Gent visited frequently. In 2001, he self-funded a trip to America to meet then-president, George Bush, to pass on his condolences following the terror attack on the World Trade Center.

Karen added: “Dad said there were 15 helicopter gunships overhead, 20 troops sitting around with a rocket launcher.

“All the roads were closed and he had to walk two miles to see the President.”

A former employee of the now defunct Stevenson’s Dye Works, Mr Gent leaves behind wife Desiree, daughter Karen, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He also had a son, Nicholas, who sadly passed away over 30 years ago.

His funeral will take place at Amber Valley Crematorium on Friday, November 23 at 10am followed by a celebration of his life at the Eagle Tavern, Heage.

Family flowers only and donations to the Glebe Field Centre in Crich