Jean Gilbert

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Jean Gilbert


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Jean Gilbert at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games



Albert 'Pop' Gilbert in 1904 with his father John, mother Sarah, and sisters Minnie, Phoebe and Elsie

Jean Gilbert, the eldest daughter of a St Helier greengrocer, was a champion diver and represented Great Britain in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games when she was only 17.

Family

Her father Albert, known as 'Pop', moved to Jersey from Sheffield in 1923 and set up a fruit and vegetable stall in the Beresford Street market, eventually to make headline news.

He will be best remembered by Jersey residents of the pre-war era for bringing down the price of fruit and vegetables in the island through direct importation.

He moved out of the market to set up shop in Halkett Place just before the Second World War, and continued there until his retirement.

Before the Occupation Mr Gilbert left the island with his family to run his second greengrocery business in Bournemouth. He then sold this and moved to the Midlands, before returning to Jersey after the war.

It was Mr Gilbert who financed a scheme to bring the first bananas into Jersey after the Occupation. He sent his son John to charter an aircraft to fly to Africa so that the people of Jersey could enjoy the taste of banana for the first time in years.

On his retirement Mr Gilbert, his wife May, who died a few years ago, and some of his eight children, moved to Canada for a few years.

In Canada he bought a large estate on the Frazer River, and eventually sold the land so that it could be used to build homes for ex-servicement.

Mr Gilbert returned to Jersey to set up home with his wife at Lavender Cottage, Havre des Pas, where he lived until his death.

Diving

Albert Gilbert was an enthusiastic member of the Jersey Swimming Club, for whom his elder daughter Jean was a star diver.

At a time when Jersey divers were recognised champions throughout the British Isles, and further afield, teenager Jean one countless competitions and, at the age of 17, represented her country in the Berlin Olympic Games, reaching the final of the highboard competition and finishing in seventh place.

Eighteen months later she was in Australia to represent England in the Empire Games.

Family tree




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