MAYOR IN A BOBSLEIGH
Born in Oxford, his parents were Dorothy Hudson, a teacher, and Andrew Gilchrist, a chemical engineer. He was the oldest of five children.
His father’s work led to him growing up firstly in Cheshire and latterly in Welwyn Garden City.
After leaving school Ian went to Magdalen College, Oxford and gained a degree in philosophy and psychology.
He built up a close friendship with an Iranian lodger, so when he graduated, he decided to visit Iran.
He absolutely loved it and got a job teaching English at the University of Tehran.
And he loved exploring the deserts and mountains of the country, being stunned by its beauty.
But in 1979 the Iranian Revolution took place and Ian was forced to leave the country.
He then got a job working with the British Council in Ljubljana in Yugoslavia (now the capital of Slovenia).
There he met a local woman named Gordana Djokic.
After a short spell teaching English in Saudi Arabia, Ian returned to Ljubljana and married Gordana. He then got a job working as a translator.
In 1983, Ian and Gordana came to the UK and after a short spell in Ramsgate, went to live in the city of Bath.
They had two sons, Robert and James. Ian got a job working as a salesman for a software company.
Meanwhile, he joined the Liberal Democrat political party and was elected as a councillor in the Widcombe ward of the city. There, he became chair of the Bath and North East Somerset Council.
He retired from sales in 2013 and threw himself into his political career.
But he had an active social life.
He had created the Widcombe Mummers in 2005, dedicated to performing plays in the streets, medieval style.
He also travelled extensively, took up mountaineering, got into sailing, started beekeeping and made his own mead. He was a keen bridge and backgammon player. He also started a degree in Persian Studies.
In 2012 he re-founded the Bath City Waits. They were a 6-piece group who played traditional English and Christmas songs. They had originally played in Eighteenth Century Bath but had been disbanded in 1797. He launched them again as a celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Finally, in 2017, he became the Mayor of Bath. He was the 790th Mayor in the city’s history. It was a non-political role.
A keen musician who could play the cello, oboe, banjo and mandolin, he made his time in office as Mayor ‘The Year of Music’.
He was inaugurated at Bath Abbey.
His acceptance speech went, “Praise the Lord! We are a musical city.”
During his year as Mayor he founded two ceilidh bands and created the Bath All-Comers Orchestra, as well as making the Bath Waits more prominent.
Also in his tenure as mayor there was a celebration of the Winter Olympics 2018, at the University of Bath. The British Olympic bobsleigh team came down the university training village, with Dom Parsons (bronze medal winner) and former Olympic champion Lizzie Yarnold.
Ian, in his capacity as mayor, was encouraged to attend – and have a go at the bobsleigh along with a journalist. As he had recently suffered a torn achilles tendon he couldn’t push the bobsleigh off so had to act as driver. He called the experience, “Thrilling but terrifying.”
He stepped down from local politics in 2019.
He also managed to make a return visit to his beloved Tehran.
Unfortunately, Ian caught cancer and died from complications from it.
RIP – Revolution (in) Iran – Persia