Published: 15:00, 08 September 2017 |
Updated: 00:02, 09 September 2017
Friends, family, and colleagues packed into St George’s Church in Gravesend to bid a final farewell to former Gravesham council leader John Cubitt.
Cllr Cubitt died at the age of 75 last month after battling illness for much of the past year, having served as a councillor since May 2007.
His poor health forced him to step down as leader of the council back in March, less than two years after taking on the job when the Conservatives secured a majority in the 2015 election.
But there were glowing tributes shared by people from all walks of life at his funeral on Friday, with cherished memories of him as a family man, a dedicated Rotarian, and a keen rugby player.
Mourners heard how Cllr Cubitt grew up as the son of a policeman in Swanscombe and went to local schools, before moving onto a technical college in Gravesend.
He was a school captain and prefect and was an avid member of the cubs and scouts thanks to his love of orienteering and hiking, but he also found plenty of time to play tennis and football.
At the age of 18 he took up rugby at his beloved Gravesend Rugby Club, which became a huge part of his life despite the pressure of work and raising a family.
The gifted mathematician married wife Moira in 1974, two years after they met, and had daughter Beth in 1976 and son Tom in 1979.
Fighting back tears as she led the tributes to her dad, his daughter described him as “the strongest man we ever knew” and “the centre of our family”.
“He was a public figure but also a private family man,” she said.
“Dad knew that love was a verb and that life was about what you do not just what you say.
“He was fearless and he was supportive.
“We had an amazing childhood with mum and dad and there’s such a strong theme in my family of sticking together no matter what.”
Others who spoke included Peter Fitzell from the rugby club, Clive Taylor, a past president of Gravesend and Meopham Rotary Club, and David Hughes, the chief executive of Gravesham council.
Mr Hughes spoke glowingly of Cllr Cubitt’s political endeavours, which began with him becoming the borough councillor in Meopham North in 2007.
The grandfather of five was chairman of the Gravesham Conservative Association for four years and served on Kent County Council for four years from 2009, holding the post of Deputy Cabinet Member for Education, Learning and Skills.
In 2015, he was appointed a member of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation board.
“John and I had a very strong relationship based initially on mutual respect for our skills and experience, but it quickly developed into a friendship based on shared values and great trust in each other,” said Mr Hughes.
“He supported and encouraged council officers to give their best and trusted them to do their jobs and gave them the space to do that.
“This earned him respect and trust throughout the council.”
Mr Hughes also paid tribute of Cllr Cubitt’s commitment to young people and meeting the needs of the entire community.
His cabinet appointments were described as a varied mix of experienced veterans and young talents, with councillors from a variety of backgrounds.
Reverend Chris Stone, who led the service, added: “John was someone we held in great regard and for whom we have had the utmost respect, someone we knew as a family man, as a friend, and as a colleague.
“It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known John in many parts of his life.”
After the service at the church, Cllr Cubitt’s family moved onto Gravesend Crematorium for the committal.
They have invited people to make donations to hospice charity ellenor and the British Heart Foundation in his memory, which can be made online at funeralzone.co.uk/obituaries/34282.
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