The next of kin of Phil Gilbert, a homeless man who passed away on Shaftesbury High Street, have been located following an appeal by the Dorset Coroner.
Fern Lyne-Temple contacted Alfred to say that sadly, she has just learned of her dad’s death. Fern lives in the north of England and lost contact with her father when she was eleven.
Phil, who went by the nickname of ‘Smut’, was well-known around our town, in particular for his penny-whistle playing. He was found dead in the foyer of Shaftesbury’s Lloyds Bank on the morning of 20th February.
Fern has set up a crowd-sourcing page to pay for a funeral for her dad. You can find the link here. Any additional funds raised will support Open House, which assisted Phil.
Last week, Shaftesbury Community Choir sang an African piece of music, ‘Senzeni Na’, as a tribute to Phil, who often called into their Wednesday evening rehearsal sessions. The song is often sung at funerals. “The words were, very sadly, appropriate,” said the choir’s David Grierson. “Translated, they are ‘What have we done to deserve this? We shall meet again in heaven’. A very nice idea was that we should make a recording of the song and get permission to have it played at his funeral service, whenever it takes place,” added David.
You can hear David Grierson’s recording on the link above and we will let you know when funeral arrangements are finalised.