Charity trustee and engineer dies aged 76

George Bingham

George Bingham

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Tributes have been paid to a charity trustee, retired businessman and engineer.

George Bingham, of The Lawn, St Leonards, passed away on March 1 following a long illness. He was 76.

George was a great person to bridge gaps and bring people together

Lynne Bingham

He moved to St Leonards in 1984 when he became managing director of chemical company Gelpke & Bate at Rye Harbour.

He led a management buyout, renamed the company CMR and grew it to be an international player in the field of solvent recovery and Rye’s leading science and engineering employer.

George became chairman of the UK Chemical Recycling Association and president of the European Solvent Recycler Group. Eventually CMR was sold and is now part of the Tradebe group.

In 1992 George became a governor of Thomas Peacocke Community College, now Rye College. He chaired the governing body and remained a governor until 2010.

Ann Cockerham, executive principal of the Rye Academy Trust, said: “I remember George’s commitment to young people and the way in which he fought to get the very best opportunities for them, seeing the school through challenging times with compassion, good humour and integrity.”

In recent years George’s passion became the charity Emmaus Hastings & Rother, of which he was a founder trustee.

Emmaus communities provide homeless and marginalised people with a home, work in the community’s social enterprise and the support to enable them to rebuild their lives. Thalia Griffiths, trustee, said: “George was central to this, taking a relaxed view of the role of a trustee: often to be found with a spanner or screwdriver rather than in meetings.”

George was a life-long supporter of Everton FC and member of the Labour Party, standing as candidate for Blackpool North in the 1966 General Election. Conversation with George, who was often at the centre of his circle of friends in the Horse & Groom pub in Mercatoria, St Leonards, covered a wide range of subjects.

His wife Lynne said; “George was a great person to bridge gaps and bring people together. In his working life he was a pioneer in recycling. He was one of the first people to recycle solvents, was highly regarded all over Europe as an engineer, but also for his humour. He’s going to leave a very large hole on lots of peoples’ lives.”

George’s funeral will be at St John the Evangelist, Pevensey Road, St Leonards at 1.45pm on Monday (March 23). Donations to St Michael’s Hospice and Emmaus Hastings & Rother can be made through Arthur C Towner funeral directors.