Family and friends of former councillor Gerry White, who was found dead in suspicious circumstances in amongst woodland in Lake on Monday, have today (Wednesday) paid tribute to him.

Gerry, 73, who originally came from Dublin, was well known locally for being the pub landlord of The Stag Inn at Lake, as well as the former councillor for Lake North. He had also been the chairman of the Lake Parish Council.

Recently he had been helping to set up Lake Community Gardens on 16 acres of land between Lake, Ningham and Shanklin – the same area at the centre of the ongoing murder investigation.

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As previously reported by Island Echo, Police were called to the area surrounding Scotchells Brook Lane on Monday evening after receiving a report that a man in his 70s had been seriously assaulted. Officers found Mr White in amongst woodland off the Byway SS18. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

It has been confirmed this afternoon that Police continue to quiz a 60-year-old man on suspicion of murder. Detectives have successfully applied to the courts for an extension to hold the male from Sandown for longer than the initial 36 hour period allowed. Gerry and the suspect were known to each other.

Mr White’s wife, Lee White, has paid the following tribute to her husband:

“My husband Gerry was a loving family man to me, his children, grandchildren, sister, brother, nephews and nieces.

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“Gerry respected and trusted his loyal staff, recognising their valuable role in his life.

“He thoroughly enjoyed being a Rotarian, receiving an award in appreciation of his charitable work. His role as an Island councillor helped many local people.

“Thank you for all your condolences and messages, warming the cockles of our broken hearts.”

David Pugh, Chairman of the Isle of Wight Conservative Association has said:

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“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Gerry White.

“Having gained the Lake North ward for the Conservatives in 2009, he was a relentless champion for the Lake community. Gerry always made clear that Lake was his sole priority and he continually pushed for improvements to the area. He persuaded our Conservative administration to extend free car parking in Lake, and he successfully secured the routing of a community bus service to serve the village.

“I am also aware of how Gerry worked diligently as a parish councillor over more recent years, and his contribution to the local area is widely recognised. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time”.

Cllr Ian Ward, Chairman of Sandown & Lake Conservative Branch added:

“We were pleased to welcome Gerry back into Conservative membership last year, and since then he had once again been a strong supporter of our local branch. Over a number of years he helped us raise funds, including through hosting events in his venues.

“He was also well known for his generous charity work with Sandown Rotary, where I know he helped secure considerable funds for local good causes.

“We will miss him greatly, and extend our condolences to his family and friends as they mourn his passing”.

Specialist forensic investigators have been conducting a fingertip search of Lake Community Gardens since late on Monday night. Investigations are continuing at this time and the scene remains on lock down.

Appeal for information

The investigation team are keen to hear from anyone who could assist with this murder investigation.

Detective Inspector Toby Elcock said:

“We would like to hear from anyone who knew Mr White and has any information they think could be relevant to our enquiries.

“The area in which the body was found is quite isolated, but we believe this may be used by dog walkers and other members of the public who like to go out walking.

“Were you in this area between 3pm and 6.30pm on Monday 27 May? Did you see anyone in this area at all?

“Did you hear or see anything that you thought was out of the ordinary or suspicious?

“If you have information then get in touch. We would ask people who have information to not post this or speculate on social media, but to come to the police in the first instance.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting Operation Sage, or call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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