The Lord Mayor of Chester has written a letter of condolence to the Grosvenor family on behalf of the people of the city following the death of the sixth Duke of Westminster .
Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, whose ancestral home is Eaton Hall, near Chester, sadly died on Tuesday (August 9) aged 64, at the Royal Preston Hospital after being taken ill while staying at his country retreat near Lancaster.
Flags have been lowered to half mast at Chester Town Hall and the council’s HQ offices and a book of condolence has been opened at the town hall.
In her letter, the Lord Mayor of Chester, Cllr Angela Claydon describes his grace as a ‘great supporter and advocate’ for Chester.
She wrote: “May I, on behalf of the City of Chester, express our deepest sympathy and extend our most sincere condolences to you and your family on the sad death of his grace, The Duke of Westminster.
“His grace and the Westminster family have always been great supporters and advocates for the city of Chester and its civic and ceremonial function, most recently, when he re-opened the redeveloped City Baths and the remodelled Grosvenor Park .
“Following the remodelling of Grosvenor Park, his grace kindly donate an illustrated copy of an important historical document to mark the restoration of Grosvenor Park. Cllr Bob Rudd , Lord Mayor 2014/15, was honoured to receive such a special gift, which now hangs proudly in the Grosvenor Park Lodge.
“His grace has attended many civic events over the years and has always been a great asset to the civic life of the city. I have had the personal privilege of accompanying him during two recent events within the city. His grace will be sadly missed.”
Cllr Louise Gittins , deputy leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council , commented: “The Duke of Westminster was a true champion of Chester who was passionate in his support of our local community, much of which was done quietly and without publicity.
“I was delighted to accompany him on a recent tour of Chester’s new cultural centre, Storyhouse, in which he had a keen personal interest.
“He was a remarkable, kind and generous man, and his passing is an enormous loss to our city. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, wanted to recognise the duke for the work he carried out for good causes as well as wishing his son and heir Hugh 'every blessing' for the fiuture.
He said: "The duke was very well regarded in Cheshire, and much further afield, for his charitable work and very evident sense of duty. The duke made very significant contributions across a wide range of aspects of public life.
"This included taking a close interest in appointments of clergy to the parishes of which the duke is patron. He will be hugely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we wish his son Hugh every blessing as he becomes the new duke, with all the responsibilities that he will now assume."
Professor Tim Wheeler, vice chancellor of the University of Chester, was saddened to learn of the demise of the duke who was the university's chancellor as well as its champion.
He said: "The university is saddened to hear of the death of his grace, Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster and the university’s chancellor, who died yesterday afternoon aged 64 at the Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire.
"The Duke was installed as foundation chancellor in 2005 at a special service at Chester Cathedral. He was a tireless supporter of the university and used his influence to further the university’s interests at every opportunity.
"He represented the University on many ceremonial occasions. He was delighted to open the Westminster Building and Grosvenor House reflecting his close association with the university. The university has lost a dear friend, enthusiastic backer and loyal champion. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Katrina Michel, chief executive of Marketing Cheshire , said: “As an ambassador of Cheshire, The Duke of Westminster was beyond compare. Not only did he invest in the county with innovative and exciting businesses like Cogent, he advocated the benefits of Cheshire to the world at large in the warm, self-effacing and genuine manner that was characteristic of him. He will be sadly missed.”
Anyone wishing to sign the book of condolence at Chester Town Hall may do so between 9am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.