Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Goodbye Charlie Gas - Mr. Ramsgate

I was sorry to hear of the death of Charlie Goldsmith. As Charlie was leaving Thanet politics when he stood down as a councillor in 2003, I was starting to become involved so I did not know him. Yet like anybody involved in Ramsgate life his reputation was readily learnt.
Charlie represented the Eastcliff of Ramsgate for many years as a councillor. He lived much of his life in Flora Road. I spoke to Labour's current longest standing Thanet councillor Mike Harrison. He said that if you asked Ramsgate people who Charlie Goldsmith was they might not know, but talk about Charlie Gas and everyone knew who you meant. Charlie's nickname came from his job when he worked on Ramsgate's street gaslights. His death flashes a light on a barely recalled world more than half a century ago.
Although a Labour man, Charlie was not always a Labour Party man and he was at times an Independent and Independent Labour. In the end though he came back to Labour. He served in many roles but everyone I have spoken to has talked about what a superb Mayor of Ramsgate he was in 1988, 1992, 1997, 1998, and 1999.
The only other Mayor of Ramsgate to serve for 4 years in modern times Steve Ward talked about how proper and thorough Charlie was. Serving from 2004 to 2008 Steve said that Charlie had built a reputation for Ramsgate that extended across Kent and beyond.
He was Mr. Ramsgate.

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