Murdered MP’s widow visits town on 25th anniversary

The widow of assassinated Eastbourne Conservative MP Ian Gow visited Eastbourne today (Thursday) on the 25th anniversary of his untimely death.

Mr Gow died when a car bomb exploded underneath his car as he reversed out of the driveway of his home in Hankham on the morning of Monday July 30 1990.

Ian Gow SUS-150730-144758001

Ian Gow SUS-150730-144758001

The IRA claimed responsibility for the death of the popular 53-year-old MP, who was a close confidante of the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

At lunchtime, 25 years to the day since his death, Dame Jane Gow met with friends at a special gathering organised by local Conservatives.

It was held at the home of former councillor David Stevens and his wife Jane in Meads and among the guests were friends and neighbours of the Gows.

They included East Sussex County Council chairman Colin Belsey, former councillors Barbara Goodall and Brian Higgins, Conservative Association chairman Ian Lucas, Ted Lewis from the Lansdowne Hotel, the widow of former borough councillor Dennis Cullen, Colette, and representatives from the association in Mr Gow’s time.

Dame Jane said she was pleased to see so many familiar faces

Guests toasted Mr Gow with refreshments including the late politician’s favourite White Lady cocktail, a mix of gin, cointreau and lemon juice.

During her visit to the town Dame Jane also went to St Saviour and St Peter’s Church in South Street, where the Gows were regular worshippers.

Mr Gow’s funeral was held there and there is also a stained window there dedicated to his memory.

Colin Belsey said, “I was deputy chairman of the Conservative Association when Ian was murdered. He was a very close friend to my family and godfather to my son Philip.

“I was devastated at the news, Eastbourne lost a great MP and I think the country lost a great leader.

“Some of us who were around from the early 1970s to that dreadful day, still remember him on July 30 and this year being the 25th anniversary, we are delighted Jane will be joining us.

“I have some great memories of this man, dustcarts with his election leaflets in the windows, driving him around with the top of the old Rover open and getting soaking wet in the rain, visiting him at Number 10 when I worked in London and he was Margaret Thatcher’s PPS, to get his election material signed.

“And of course you cannot forget the lighter side with the gatherings at the Dog House where White Lady cocktails were his favourite.

“I still miss him greatly and I am so delighted to have known him. We will meet again I know.”

Dame Jane’s visit coincided with the launch of a new Brighton & Hove Buses vehicle, which has been named after her late husband and was unveiled in the street outside the party venue.

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