Grandson pays tribute to 'gentleman' and history-maker Peter
- Credit: Family
A grandson has paid tribute to a man known for “being a gentleman, always smart in his shirt and tie and loved by everyone that met him”.
Peter Gipp was an apprentice carpenter, served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and known as Ely’s first traffic warden amongst other roles.
Adam, one of Peter’s grandchildren, said: “He was always there; you can go to him and rely on him to be there and help out.”
Peter died aged 87 on July 14.
Born on June 8, 1935 in Hackney, north-east London, Peter was 18-months-old when he moved to Sutton in Cambridgeshire, along with his two older brothers Eric and Lesley.
After attending Sutton Primary School, Peter earned a scholarship to study at Soham Grammar School.
And it was at 15-years-old when he met Christine in Sutton, as Peter asked to walk her home.
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“They used to go dancing a lot at the Royal British Legion but Peter had two left feet so he had to have lessons to keep up with Christine,” Adam said.
“After courting they were married the following year at Ely Registry Office and shortly after they welcomed their first child, Marilyn.”
Marilyn was one of seven children the couple would have together, as well as 20 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.
In fact, Peter and Christine marked their platinum wedding anniversary last year after getting married on September 27, 1951.
Peter first worked as an apprentice carpenter for Hale Brothers in Sutton, before he joined up with the RAF and posted to Germany in 1952.
He also became a corporal in the Royal Military Police and went on to be a sergeant, before he was demobbed and returned to the UK.
“I had to report to RAF Cardington; on arrival I was sworn in and given the Queen’s shilling with my uniform,” Peter recalled in his diary.
“It was really cold and I had to be up at 6am for square-bashing. We eventually completed the course and passed exams.”
While in Germany, Peter won the job of driving the officer in charge as he was able to drive.
As well as a promotion, Peter was sent to the Netherlands and promoted to corporal plus a short spell with the German police.
“Then I flew to Gibraltar in an old Dakota which was a great experience,” he wrote.
“Christine went to a local MP to try and get me back to England, which they did, first to Waterbeach and then to Duxford.”
Peter took on several jobs since leaving the RAF, such as working as a driver for haulier Jack Richards and transport manager at Apthorps.
But it was as a traffic warden where he was perhaps more known to many, starting in Cambridge 1972 before transferring to Ely.
“Peter soon transferred back to Ely where he was proud to become their first traffic warden,” said Adam.
“He enjoyed his work, in particular meeting many different people, and always missed it.”
Peter then became a desk clerk at Ely Police Station from 1992 before retiring from the force.
He carried on working as a minibus driver in the county, where he took disabled children to school as Christine also helped with a separate minibus, until Peter fully retired at 72-years-old.
“He spent many years of his life volunteering for the Poppy Appeal and was the branch secretary for the Royal British Legion; he was very proud of this work,” said Adam.
One of Adam’s standout memories of his grandfather was family holidays to Devon and Cornwall, where Peter and Christine would drive their minibus.
Peter was a hardworking man that kept busy, but was there when needed most.
“In his spare time, he enjoyed painting, decorating and helping his family with their DIY projects,” Adam said.
“Grandad was someone you could go to and he would help with anything.”
Peter, who played football for Sutton and Witcham in his younger days, enjoyed visits from his family, was someone you could rely on and popular amongst those he met.
Adam added: “We will all remember Peter for being a gentleman, always smart in his shirt and tie and loved by everyone that met him.”
A funeral service will take place at the Fenland Crematorium, March on July 29 at 3.30pm.
Donations in Peter’s memory can be made to the Royal Air Forces Association and the Royal British Legion.