Crawley’s mayor joined staff and councillors outside the town hall to pay their respects to Geraint Thomas as his funeral cortège passed.
Geraint, who represented Ifield for Labour, died on November 27, aged 69.
His fellow councillors observed a minute’s silence at the last full council meeting of the year and shared their memories of a man who was liked and respected by all.
Leader Peter Lamb said: “In the three weeks that have passed it’s been very difficult to process the fact that he will no longer be with us.
“He was someone who absolutely loved this town. It’s where he was born and where he spent his entire life and he served the town for three decades as a geography teacher.”
An emotional Mr Lamb said it was clear from talking to some of Geraint’s former pupils that he inspired them and ‘they really loved him’.
A couple of those pupils now serve on the council and shared some of their memories of their time under his tutelage.
Andrew Belben (Con, Pound Hill South & Worth), who went to Hazelwick School, said Geraint had ‘an ability to keep the curriculum and lessons enjoyable and to keep our attention’.
He said: “Being a small group of eight or nine, we inevitably had a cross-section of political thoughts and views fuelled by interest in the run-up to the 1979 General Election and being eligible to vote for the first time.
“Although we all knew Geraint’s leanings, he was very professional and never tried to influence our views, despite the odd ribbings and banter we gave him.”
Tahira Rana (Lab, Broadfield) was also taught by Geraint and his wife in the late 1970s.
Describing him as her favourite teacher, she said: “He was a lovely, lovely man. I really do miss him a lot.”
Anyone who would like to make a donation in Geraint’s memory can do so via www.crawleyopenhouse.co.uk/makea-donation or www.ifieldparkcarehome.co.uk/fundraising
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