the pork-bolter


It is now a year since our friend and comrade Gil (Michael Gilbert) died. How he would have loved the last 12 months, with the Titnore Woods victory and the powerful new wave of radical opposition to capitalist tyranny embracing the youngest generation and giving us all hope for the future, despite the immediately grim prospects!

Gil has not been forgotten and a convivial celebration of his life will be held on Wednesday January 5 2011, from 8pm to 10pm, in the Conservatory at the Sir Timothy Shelley pub in Chapel Road, Worthing.

Below are the tributes sent in after Gil died.

IT IS with great sorrow that we record the death of our comrade Gil (Michael Gilbert).

An anarchist for some half a century, he was a stalwart of the Worthing anarchist scene for numerous years and a good friend of many of us.

Despite the restrictions of his failing health, he continued to take part in a range of political activities and managed to get up to the Anarchist Bookfair in London in October.

Although well versed in anarchist theory and history, it was not the writers and theoreticians whom Gil most admired - it was the men of action.

Men like Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary, Nestor Makhno, the Ukrainian anarchist guerrilla and Buenaventura Durruti, the inspiring anarchist fighter in the Spanish Revolution of 1936-1939.

The attitude of all these heroes can be summed up in the anarchist slogan "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!", which Gil heartily endorsed.

Gil certainly didn't live on his knees. As well as his political involvement, he was a relentless crusader against every aspect of petty repression, discrimination and exploitation that he encountered in his day-to-day life.

A thorn in the side of the uncaring authorities, he was also a guardian angel for many people who came to rely on his guidance and support.

It was this practical dedication to mutual aid, to human solidarity, that made Gil such a genuine and exemplary anarchist.

Even when he died, after a heart attack, it was while doing a favour for a friend - dying on his feet, helping other people.

He will be hugely missed.

I was in a black hole when Gil happened along to pull me out. He used endless, patient listening and logical freethinking advice to put issues I found overwhelming completely into proportion.

He really was a friend you could rely on at three in the morning - in the long dark night of the soul. He earned a very large part of my degree with his calming influence when exams loomed and his detached view on conventional criteria.

He could be as prickly as his beloved cacti, on occasion and always had a barter or exchange deal underway, with skill well honed over years of dealing in antiques ....and suchlike.

Yet nothing was too much trouble: if it was for someone else. Even his spectacles bear witness to how little time he spent on himself. Held together with Blue tack and modified by cello tape, they too will be going to do good in a developing country, once they are renovated.

Someone, somewhere will see the world the way that Gil saw it.

That is a very rare and precious thing.


Worthing's loss, humanity's loss and a loss to all who knew him.

I was lucky enough to know gil for the last seven years and privileged to have been able to spend lots of time with him, whether it be playing chess, discussing life and humans and their funny ways or listening to his brilliant anecdotes. Recently I was invited for a quick chat at 18:00 and left at half past midnight with the time having absolutely flown by and realising what a lucky guy i was to have heard the tales about the RAF, his time at University, the market garden, reptiles and snakes stories that had me in stitches, hearing how the curator of the British museum mistakenly identified an item he took there for them to see...

I will miss the possibility of 'bumping into him' around the corner, outside the co-op or in the library etc. which made him such a part of Worthing to me, I will miss the security he gave to the people of worthing which, whether he knew a person or not, he gave thoughtlessly but most of all I will miss a man who became a very close and trusted friend and confidant and whose name I will always remember and hold in honour and high esteem. There are are not many people in life you meet like this man.

I love you gil, thank you for every piece of advice and laughter you gave me and my family and may you rest in peace. xxx


I was deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of Gil. Gil was so much a part of Worthing, a helping hand to so many with a steely determination to see social injustice and environmental wrongs challenged. He will be greatly missed by all.

John Hughes

Michael J Gilbert, affectionately knows to his friends and family as 'Gil', was my good friend, mentor, counsellor and confidant. I first met Gil when I was 17 and he was my very good friend for 18 years.

Gil would help people even if it was an inconvenience to himself. Gil, you see, loved people. He was a real humanist. Gil wanted to do all he could to help others, even if it sometimes seemed they would never achieve anything or get better.

To him, it was worth it for the small moments when he could help people relax, feel safe, or not feel like they were stupid or being looked down on.

Gil was always there for the lost, the frightened, the lonely, the homeless, the addicts and the sick.

It did not matter who you were or how much you did or didn't have, Gil would be there if you asked for his help. I know this because he helped me.

To Gil, all were equal. No one should be superior to another, everyone should be listened to and be allowed to express themselves. Everyone had the ability within them to be an asset in some way to others, everyone had the possibility to achieve and everyone had the right to feel safe, secure and not to feel alone.

When I first came to Worthing as a teenager, I felt very lost and alone. I met Gil at a Socialist meeting and we quickly became friends.

He helped me through some very dark times by spending time with me, sitting and talking to me and giving me hope.

He was there for me when I was depressed and lonely and he spent hours helping me get the practical and financial support I needed. He was always there for me.

12 years later, when my girlfriend and I had bricks thrown through our bedroom window late at night, smashing glass all over our bed, it was Gil who came over at 2am to help us.

When I was run over at a protest to save Titnore Woods, Gil was there to help me. I have so many good memories of this kind man, of his love of chess, cacti, politics and protests for human and environmental rights.

I think much of what made Gil the man he was, was down to his early childhood experiences of growing up in London during the Second World War.

His memories of war and homelessness, the way people pooled themselves and their resources to work together in the spirit of the Blitz, made him a kind and loving man who was a pacifist, environmentalist, a humanist who hated war, bigotry, bureaucracy, authority and waste. A proud father with two sons, he spoke often of their sporting and personal achievements.

A champion of the people and scourge of council and government small mindedness, pettiness and jobsworths, Gil did so much to advocate for people and help them get the treatment they deserved.

His dream was a world without leaders, where everyone works together in the spirit of unity, solidarity, Ubuntu (an African word meaning 'humanity to others').

He was a real mench, a Socialist in its most literal sense and a true Anarchist. An inspiration to us all. He will be much missed by all his friends and family, who will carry on the good work he did to help others.

We will see you on the Dark Side of the Moon.

Colin Wright

I have just read the news and just wanted to register my sadness at Gil's death. Whilst I was only involved with Worthing Anarchists for about a year, I was proud to be able to call Gil a comrade, and more importantly a friend.

He was a fine, brave and wise man with a great sense of humour, driven by social justice, and full of stories for every occasion. He won't be forgotten by any who knew him - nor indeed by those in authority who came up against his formidable arguments and his determination. Michael Gilbert, I raise my glass to you.


I am very sad that Gil is no longer with us. It will seem very strange for him not be around when we are campaigning on the streets.

Gil was an Anarchist who was very much rooted in the community. He was always willing to support and advise people in a down to earth sort of way.

Gil despised all forms of hierarchy, and hated any form of social control.

It seems to me that the "Stall" in Worthing was always associated with Gil.

From now on I declare that Holders Corner should be renamed Gil's Corner.

This would be an act of solidarity to enable us all to remember him.

We will miss you.

Dave Henbrey

I was so very sad to hear of the passing of Gil.

He was a very good person, generous with his time and genuine in his commitments.

Gil really cared about people and he found so many ways to help those who needed a kind friend and advocate against the stupifying rules of the system.

I am devastated that he won't be there at the stall, at the meeting, at the protest, putting up posters.

He did so much and I will miss him.

Joy Hurcombe

Its really sad to hear about Gil. Having worked with him in my early days of activism on the south coast I can understand your sense of loss and the wider loss to the Worthing activist scene.


Sad news for us, but wonderful that he went whilst still active - hoorah for that!


I will personally miss him a great deal, having worked with him on so many campaigns and had so many interesting conversations over the last dozen or so years. In fact, I keep expecting to bump into him round every corner in Worthing town centre. He was so much a part of so many people's lives.


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