Lifeboat farewell for much-loved QC

Gilbert Gray QC
Gilbert Gray QC

THE ASHES of an internationally renowned QC will be scattered off the South Bay this afternoon from the Scarborough lifeboat.

Gilbert Gray QC passed away at the age of 82 on April 7, just six weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer.

He was a keen amateur sailor and president of both Scarborough and Filey lifeboats.

His ashes will be scattered from the lifeboat, in accordance with Mr Gray’s wishes, from a location which looks across the bay.

Members of his family, as well as the Scarborough Lifeboat standard bearer, will be on-board when the ashes are scattered.

Colin Lawson, Scarborough RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “We consider it a great honour to be asked by the family to do this for him.

“It is a private occasion for the family, but we will all be thinking of Gilbert. He was an inspirational man to all of us.

“As president he was very active and was always there for anything we wanted him to do.

“He gave it his all, as he did with everything in his life.”

Mr Lawson added that the lifeboat crew had lost a great friend as well as a president and figurehead.

“We all have great memories of him and it is sad that he is gone,” he said. “I believe he is irreplaceable.

“All of the crew hold him in great esteem – he was great company. He always seemed to like the company of the lifeboat boys and he mixed very easily.”

Mr Gray, the son of a butcher, was born on April 25 1928 in Scarborough.

He was educated at Friarage School and Scarborough Boys’ High School.

The barrister who became known for his unparalleled eloquence in the courtroom would say he first encountered the richness of the English language at his local Salvation Army Hall and by listening to Methodist preachers.

After national service, he attended Leeds University before being called to the Bar in 1953.

Mr Gray became a QC in 1971 and would shine in several high-profile cases.

His most notorious client was murderer Donald Neilson, known as “the Black Panther”, whom he defended in 1976.

Head of York Chambers, and a former Yorkshire Lawyer of the Year, Mr Gray also acted in cases involving the Official Secrets Act, terrorism, and interna- tional sanctions disputes including Matrix Churchill and the Cyprus Spy Trial.

He continued working right up until his death.

He is survived by his wife Dilys, sons Robin and Toby, daughters Miranda and Charlotte and 11 grandchildren.

His funeral was held on April 15.

There are plans to plant a wood in Mr Gray’s memory at Harwood Dale.