Cartoonist who was 'a very nice guy'

First published in News by

A POLITICAL cartoonist who was strongly associated with Richmond died on September 17 after a short illness.

George Gale, who drew the ‘Mayor’s Eye View’ for the Richmond and Twickenham Times front page during the 1980s, was passionate about the Richmond community.

When he and his wife Elizabeth (Betty) moved down from their native Leven, on the Fife coast, in 1953, he fell in love with the town’s sense of history and the personalities that made up the community. Having trained as a draughtsman, George turned his hand to commercial arts when he moved to the borough.

His skill was in caricatures, a route which led him into a career as a political cartoonist.

In the 1970s and 80s he and his wife became important figures in the Richmond community, enjoying a life surrounded by friends in the media world. Ian, the couple’s only son, reflected: "My father was a very jolly, very happy man whose witty sense of humour spread over from his cartoons into everything he did."

As a long time resident of the borough, having lived in Ham from 1963 to 1988 and then later on Little Green, Richmond, his continued willingness to design posters for the Richmond May Fair was just one example of his community involvement.

Liz Carran, the fair’s organiser, remembers him as a famous name who took a keen interest in local matters.

She said: "George’s character shone through his work - incisive and often with a wry slant, yet never with malice, qualities which endeared him to his national and international audience."

He was engaged to draw for the Times after the then editor Malcolm Richards saw Mr Gale’s May Fair posters.

Mr Richards said this week: "George was above all a very nice guy - gentle, kind and always positive in his outlook. This manifested itself in his work. The Mayor's Eye column is one of the most challenging, as you have to know the political map of the borough thoroughly, the councillors and the local issues. George, who loved Richmond, was able to handle this superbly. We have always been fortunate to have had a very high standard of contributor to the Richmond and Twickenham Times cartoons. George left us to go on the staff of the Daily Telegraph."

Mr Gale’s cartoons have been published in almost all the political journals in this country as well as in The Times, The Economist, The Daily Telegraph and The Financial Times.

George, who died at the age of 74, leaves behind his wife, son Ian and three grandchildren. His funeral was held on Wednesday (September 24) at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

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