Friends and showland colleagues pay tribute to Gilbert Chadwick Snr ahead of his 90th birthday.
“Never has an award been better deserved. Gilbert Chadwick is an incredible Showman: energetic, ingenious – and indefatigable. His presence distinguishes every fair he attends. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to know him!”
– Graham Downie, chairman, Fairground Association of Great Britain (instigator of the Hull Fair and Ronnie Taylor Awards)
“Gilbert makes my life hell, because I’m always trying to keep up with him and Eileen when pulling down my show …and he always beats me! But I love the pair of them, and we see a lot of each other in the yard at Cheetham Hill. Gilbert may not be a scholar, but he’s the cleverest man I know, and it seems there’s nothing he can’t turn his hand to.”
– David Wallis, past Showmen’s Guild president
“Gilbert Chadwick is the archetypal Showman. Among many other achievements, he was the first person to make a travelling double decker ghost train, which we later bought off him. Before he built it, he went to Supercar and asked for one to be put on a truck. They said it couldn’t be done. Now they were the engineers, but he made it work. That’s the type of fellow he is; practical, resourceful, with a positive attitude to life. The ‘Captain Tom’ of the fairground if you like.”
– Billy Hill, past Lancashire Section chairman
“I’ve grown up watching big Gilbert, become his friend, and enjoyed his company everywhere we go. He’s a true, 100% Showman, and everybody looks up to him. I don’t think there’s anyone on the fairground that when they see him walk past doesn’t think I wish we could be like that. ‘Uncle’ Gilbert is an inspiration to every Showman in this country; a small man with a giant personality.”
– Freddie Stokes, whose annual post-pull down pictures of Gilbert and Eileen Chadwick at Hull Fair have become a ‘thing’ on social media
“Gilbert has not just lived to the age of 90, he’s still very fit. Only last year we were having a laugh with him and he dropped to the floor and did 20 press-ups! He still builds up and pulls down with his good lady, drives up and down the country. The phrase Showman is often used loosely, but for Gilbert he really is presenting a show, it’s not just a business. And he’s always done it his way. Gilbert Chadwick is unique”.
– Willie Wilson MBE
And on presenting the award of Showman of the Year to Gilbert and Eileen Chadwick, Guild President John Thurston said:
“I felt proud and privileged to present the award to one of the most remarkable couples in showland. They are a credit and inspiration to our industry. I wish them good health and many more enjoyable years ahead.”