Picture courtesy of The News, Portsmouth
TRIBUTES have been paid to a beloved husband, councillor and former mayor who ‘bent over backwards for his constituents’ – even after he was told he had just six months to live.
Gerald ‘Gerry’ Shimbart, 74, died in the care of the Rowans Hospice on Tuesday, February 19 after an 18-month battle with stomach cancer.
A tribute to Dicky Waite (joined 1939) from his wife, of 70 years, Gloria:
In 1943 Dicky went to Winchester College of Art to study to become an architect - inspired by a teacher who had spotted his ability in art classes. We kept in touch but in 1945 he was called up to join the Services. He chose the Royal Engineers and spent 15 months in Malaya - he always said he had actually enjoyed his army training and service.
We got engaged before he went abroad and on his return in 1948 we were married although he went back to College, this time in Portsmouth, to complete his qualification as an architect which took several years. He then obtained positions in the New Forest, Chippenham and Portsmouth.
We moved to King's Lynn in 1959 with our daughter Karen, aged ten and our son Richard aged six. Dicky was able to purchase a thriving practice when, after 6 months, his new boss died suddenly but he had little experience of dealing directly with clients or actually running an office. However, with his usual determination, desire and diligence which he applied to his own practice it became extremely successful eventually employing 3 secretaries and 5 assistants. Work came in for churches (at one time he had 50 to inspect and look after) and almshouses (about 40 to improve and renovate) all over Norfolk and Suffolk. And, being so close to Sandringham, he was asked to help with a problem on a farmhouse on the Estate. This led to work for Sandringham Estate for 35 years culminating in the design and construction of a new large Visitor Centre which included a 200-seater restaurant, a souvenir shop, tea room, flower and plant stall and ice cream counter. In the 1970s and 80s he worked on Anmer Hall for the Duke of Kent and for the Duke of Edinburgh on solar panels (when it was a recent invention) on staff quarters at the Queen's smaller private house.
He met the Queen, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles on many occasions, even taking tea with them in their private sitting room at the Palace, but he was always discreet about these meetings. As a result of all this work, in 1994 he received an MVO (Member of the Royal Victorian Order) which was presented to him at an investiture at the Palace for personal services to Sandringham Estate. During this time we went to Garden Parties at the Palace and three cocktail evenings at Sandringham House.
He was also sponsored by Sir Bernard Fielding to become a Fellow of the R.I.B.A for his contribution to architecture. In King's Lynn itself he worked on buildings of all kinds, always considering the heritage of the area. He belonged to the Round Table, 41 Club, Chamber of Trade, Business and Professional Men's Club, Conservative Area Advisory Panel, was a Committee Architect on the National Association of Almshouses and President of the King's Lynn Civic Society. All this kept him in the public eye and contributed to an extraordinary and productive life richly deserved due to his talent, imagination and work ethic. His last design, in his late eighties, won the Mayor's Award for Design in the Environment, a fitting last tribute to him.
His full name was "Desmond Kenneth" and "Dicky" evolved after a teacher noted his initials "D.K".
NB There is a further contribution from Gloria in the Evacuation Section reflecting on her (and Dicky's) days during the Second World War evacuation to Brockenhurst - see Evacuation
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