Funeral of Honoured Citizen of Diss to be held on Friday

Scrap merchant Peter Gillings with some of his Military memorabillia in 2006. Pictures:SONYA BROWN C

Scrap merchant Peter Gillings with some of his Military memorabillia in 2006. Pictures:SONYA BROWN Copy: For:EDP ©Eastern Daily Press 2006 - Credit: Archant

The funeral of one of the most well-known characters in Diss is to be held at the church of the town he loved.

Peter Gillings, who ran Gillings of Diss Ltd junkyard, died on October 12 age 69 after a three and a half year battle with colon cancer.

The husband, father and grandfather will be remembered at a funeral service at St Mary's Church in Diss on Friday, November 2, at 1pm, followed by a private burial at Diss Cemetery.

An Honoured Citizen of Diss as well as a Freeman of London, Mr Gillings moved to the town with his parents in 1962, when he was 14-years-old.

Mr Gillings, often known as PG, was a regular contributor to the Diss Express and Park Radio, and had appeared on the Channel Four television show Come Dine With Me.

He also was known for driving the Diss carnival queen each year and had switched on the town Christmas lights in the past.

Singing 'I Dreamed a Dream' from Les Miserables on Mr Gilling's request will be radio presenter and family friend Ruthie Henshall.

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In a self-filmed video from August, now viewed more than 1,800 times on Youtube, Mr Gillings said: 'Thank you Diss, you have kept me alive more than you could ever remember because everywhere I go people are kind to me, they are really, really kind.'

Trevor Wenman, mayor of Diss, said: 'Peter was quite a unique person. They broke the mold when they made Peter Gillings.

'He had the best time, never took himself too seriously. The thing I admired most about Peter was he knew he had limited time left but he made the most of it and we are all very grateful for that.

'He was there cutting the ribbon of Park Radio - it had to be Mr Diss who did it.

'The last two or three years were the mark of the man. He'd done an awful lot in his life time but the way he conducted himself was an inspiration to all of us.'

Mr Gillings was married to his second wife, Patricia, 76, who lives in America, for 23 years and leaves behind two children, Toni, 49, and Simon, 45, from his first marriage, of 22-years, to Trish Goralewski, nee Howell.

Family flowers only are requested at the funeral, however donations for EACH and Cancer Research UK may be sent c/o Rosedale Funeral Home, 63 Victoria Road, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4JE or via the Much Loved online memorial site at